Here is a beautiful reflection on Lent from my New Testament professor, David May.
In Herman Melville’s book Moby-Dick, the narrator, Ishmael, watched with interest the religious obligation of “Fasting and Humiliation” of his whaling companion Queequeg. While many might have viewed Queequeg’s rituals as strange and even comical, Ishmael did not. He observed in them something universal and says, “Heaven have mercy on us all . . . for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending” (Moby-Dick or The Whale [New York: W. W. Norton, 1976], p. 81).
Ash Wednesday is the beginning step towards Lent and the humble acknowledgement that we are not only “dreadfully cracked about the head” but also about the heart and spirit. For forty days, we are asked to be honest about ourselves to ourselves. Honest about what we think of others. Honest about our relationship to mammon. Honest about how we treat others. Honest about our fears. Honest about…
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