Ashes to Ashes

In two days, crosses of ash will be drawn on foreheads. With the swipe of a finger and a few words, Lent will begin. Some people will give up desserts or alcohol while others will add daily devotional readings and service projects. Whether adding something positive or subtracting a negative habit, a change in behavior is how most people observe Lent. It’s what I’ve done for most years of my adult life. Sometimes these actions have brought about a deeper understanding of my faith and sometimes they haven’t. But each of them created the chance for me to live with greater intention, even if only in a single aspect of my life.

For the past four years, I’ve chosen a particular topic for Lent – specific prayers or poetry, parables, deadly sins or life-giving virtues have filled this blog with words and images. Others have been kind enough to add their art or words to the mix, giving everyone (most especially me) the gift of a different voice and different perspective.

This year, I’ll be looking at some of the word gifts I’ve received over the past couple of months: The Daily StoicDaily Peace, and The Book of Joy. The first two were surprises, the third one I requested. All three provide opportunities to get my inner house in order, see the world around me in all its glory, and thank God for the precious life I’ve been given.

I hope you come along with me through this path of words, and perhaps add a few of your own…

Resources:

Holiday and Hanselman, The Daily Stoic: 366 meditations on wisdom, perseverance, and the art of living (New York: Portfolio/Penguin Press, 2016)

Daily Peace: 365 Days of Renewal (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2015)

Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World (Avery, 2016)

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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