Wednesday evening marked the beginning of a 40-day religious observance in the Christian tradition called Lent.
Most think of this season as one for fasting and penitential acts but it can also be a time for reconciliation.
It can also be a time to, through concrete actions, seek to reconcile ourselves with our neighbour, our community, our planet and our God.
This time of spiritual preparation culminates in the celebration of Easter, which occurs relatively late this year on April 16.
Roman Catholics across the territory gathered in their local churches to begin their Lenten practices on Ash Wednesday.
During the solemn ceremony of the liturgy of the day, they witnessed the blessing of the ashes from palms fronds that had been handed out nearly a year ago on Palm Sunday.
They lined up to have a minister mark their foreheads with the ashes in the sign of the cross.
One after another parishioners filed forward and heard a phrase like, “Repent, and believe the Good News.”
The ancient symbolism of ashes calls the faithful to recall their own mortality.
It also serves as sign of grief and penance for what we have done to wound others and the Earth as much as for what we failed to do positively to heal and help.
Lent provides us with an annual reminder to focus on what is important in our lives and world.
A rereading of scriptures is encouraged. How about having a look at Chapter 3, verse 28 of the Letter to the Galatians by Paul.
He writes: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
What does this call say about breaking down hierarchies and working for equality today?
Mix ashes with oil or water and you create an effective abrasive cleanser. Our ancestors knew this.
Ashes can symbolically remind us not only of our mortality and also can at the same time, be a call to our cleansing, our renewal.
Every Wednesday during Lent an ecumenical noon hour program will be held in Hellaby Hall at Christ Church Cathedral, 4th and Elliot Street.
A speaker from local church will offer a short meditation and prayer service followed by a light lunch. All are welcome.
International Women’s Day activities here in the Yukon can challenge us to see how far our society needs to go yet in the search for true equality.
Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre will be hosting activities beginning with a potluck lunch tomorrow, March 4th, at noon in Lewis Hall of the United Church at 6th and Main.
Also we are coming up on the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.
The weekly silent prayer vigil from 6 to 6:30 p.m. at Sacred Heart Cathedral at the corner of Fourth and Steele serves as a continuing opportunity to reflect on the need for peace in that country and in our world today.
The Yukon Peace Coalition will also be hosting a community potluck supper on Saturday evening, March 18th in the basement the Whitehorse United Church.