“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
Metaphor’s are pliable by nature, and the Church Calendar is a metaphor from which we can derive great stores of wisdom and insight. Lent is the season of preparation for Easter. Early church catechumens would take this 40 days as part of an intensification of preparations already under way. It became for the whole church a time in which we can connect to the denials of Jesus to accept the ways of the world for obedience to God.
There is a sense where Lent is truly remembering our calling to take up the cross and die to ourselves and to prepare ourselves as living sacrifices. It’s a time of worship, and a time of somber preparation. And as a metaphor it pushes us into acknowledging our mortality and our finitude while finding within those limitations the fertile ground from which we can bear much fruit.
My parents tilled and began working on their garden to get it ready for planting. They take this season to prepare, to get ready and plant. Courtney and her school project which I’ll talk more about on Thursday, began planting today. All this activity makes me see why such a season as lent happens in this time of the year.
Winter wouldn’t work – you tend to be using up your supplies in winter not preparing for the new.
Autumn is harvest time – not really right for talking about sowing seeds. Although there are plenty of winter crops that are planted.
Summer is right out.
Spring not only has easter to look forward too, it is the season where we can see the death in the end of winter yielding to the budding life coming out of the ground.
May you find for yourself taking on disciplines or letting go of distractions for lent, and may you in setting down or taking up experience the presence of God in your life. Remember your death, and in those ashes find the fertile soil for growth in faith and life. In this way may this Ash Wednesday bear fruit in your life.