The New Hampshire Bible Society
Putting God’s Word
into the hands, heads
and hearts of the
people of New Hampshire
in a form and language
they can understand
A message from the new NHBS Executive Director
The season of Lent is here as Ash Wednesday is March 5th and the first Sunday of Lent the 9th. The word Lent comes from the Middle and Old English terms lente and lengten which mean “spring” and “to lengthen (as in daylight)”. So the season that leads us up to Holy Week and Easter, often a time of fasting and penitent preparation, is based upon hope and light with the belief that things will get better. Many of my Protestant friends claim that Ash Wednesday is “too Catholic” and we Protestants should steer clear of such a service. I respond by reminding them that we are all catholic with a lower case c, that catholic means universal, and that we should focus on all that we have in common. Then I quote a professor from seminary named William McClain. Professor McClain was an older African American who marched with Dr. King in the civil rights movement of the 60’s. He was only 9 years old when he met King in the late 50s and, when he was a young teenager, McClain was shot by a man simply for trying to borrow a book from a public library. In those days, blacks were not supposed to use white people’s libraries, even if the library was public. Prof. McClain joked that he had been shot in the behind and we were just going to have to trust him as he wasn’t going to prove it. McClain said never miss a chance to tell someone, “from dust you came and to dust you shall return.” We all have wounds that we dare not show, some more serious than others. Think of what is happening in the mid-continent of Africa, in the Ukraine and anywhere else violence is becoming the answer to the human condition. Maybe no one is trying to shoot us in the behind for trying to get ahead yet our lives are filled with trying times. We need to remember that we are nothing but dust without the miracle of life given to us from God. And so this Protestant will attend an Ash Wednesday service to remind me of that very point but also to remind me that as bad and as low as things might get, the days are getting brighter and daylight longer. Things are better, not due to false hope, but due to the knowledge that the resurrection did happen. Lent is a time to prepare for the upcoming celebration of Easter and to remind ourselves of our role as human beings in the lowest point of Good Friday, still in evidence in today’s news.
The word sacrifice means to make sacred so I invite you this Lenten season to make your already sacred life more so. Maybe you will give something up for the period of time. I suggest smoking or another bad habit rather than chocolate which is never bad. I also suggest rather than giving something up, try making your life more sacred in a different way. Read a book about spirituality, attend bible study, sing in the choir, make a special effort to attend the church of your faith and invite a friend to join you. Come up with your own way of making your life more accountable to the Sacred One to whom we belong. Ash Wednesday, March 5th followed by 40 days leading towards Easter. May your Lenten Season be grace filled and may you be prepared for the warm and lighter days ahead.
Blessings to you,
Rev. David A. Richardson
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