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aashesAs the curtain opens on another season of Lent and we gear up for repentance and renewal, the prophet Joel is way out ahead of us announcing God’s invitation. “Even now,” God says…”Even now,” the poet Christopher Fry writes in the play, A Sleep of Prisoners, “when wrong comes up to face us till we take the longest stride of soul we ever took…”

I am so captivated by those two words that seem to offer so much hope in a dark time. Even now…I begin reflecting on the world situation to find what needs to be redeemed by the poet’s words but I’m quickly thrown back to the personal as Joel continues. “Rend your hearts,” he says, “not your garments.” It’s a necessary course correction that has been needing attention for some time. Winter can be such a lazy season if we are not careful. We can slip into a listless, sluggish round of tasks that lulls us into the mediocre land of February, the “after-the-holidays” let-down that is not our best moment.

Then Joel comes along calling for a fast. “Blow the trumpet in Zion!” he commands. In other words: “Wake up! Get busy! There’s a lot to do before the flowers bloom.” It’s up to us to hear the word of God and act on it. Oh, and coincidentally, today is Valentine’s Day – just another reminder of the kind of God we have who longs for our love even as a greater love is pouring from the divine heart into our own!

So let us be about this holy season – starting now…yes, even now.