So, here's the "Invitation to Lenten Disciplines" I wrote last evening, at about 13 minutes before our Ash Wednesday service was to begin:
Each year at the time of the Christian Passover we celebrate our redemption through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Lent is a time to prepare for this celebration and to renew our life in the paschal mystery.
We begin this holy season by acknowledging our need for God, and for the communion with him demonstrated by the life of Jesus.
We begin our journey to Easter with the sign of ashes. This ancient sign speaks to us of the frailty and uncertainty of human life, and marks the willingness of this community to walk with Christ into the wilderness.
I invite you, therefore, in the name of Christ, to observe a holy Lent,
by self-examination and acts of forgiveness,
by prayer and fasting,
by works of love,
and by reading and meditating on the Word of God and the beauty of God's world.
Anything strike you as a little... odd about it?
As in, not a word about penance? Or even the S-word (shhh: sin).
Well, that stuff is in the sermon... sort of. Repenting of our self-hatred, don't ya know.
It's his fault.
I've been reading his book.
It's having an effect on me. Like, this sermon.
That effect is, I want to tell people how much God loves them.
This is a very different Lent for me than last year's.