My brothers and sisters in Christ,
Lent has circled back around, finding each of us a year older, possibly wiser and further along on our Christian paths. We will be inundated with books, prayers, videos and other ways to make our Lenten journeys more fruitful. I wish to add one more possibility. Sit in it.
In Scripture, we read of penitents, both “great and small” (Jonah 3:5) putting on sackcloth. They even covered their beasts with this course material; and the king of Nineveh, we are told, sat in ash (Jonah 3:6). A similar practice remains even today (placing ashes on our foreheads).
When we strip ourselves of our royal robes of self-interest, self-preservation, self-importance and self-gratification – placing instead upon ourselves this sackcloth of care for the other, faith in God, acknowledgment of our humility (from the root humus or of the earth), and abstinence for our corporeal want – then can we begin to see creation, and thus ourselves in totality, through the eyes of our Creator.
When we sit in this for a while, or look through this lens of otherness, we see different facets of ourselves, thus opening ourselves up to so much more than we had even before dreamed. In essence, we sit in the ash; and from that process of death to self is created new life that satisfies more than before.
This happens not because we have done something, but because we have undone something. It is this undoing that allows the grace of God to flow more freely in our lives. We act, and God responds. God acts, and we respond. It is this covenant relationship with God that we rebuild during this season of Lent – first by tearing down. It is a fascinating and transformative process for those both “great and small” – should we choose to enter into it fully.
Irish Zucchini and Potato Pancakes (taken from allrecipes.com)
1 cup prepared mashed potatoes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 small zucchini, shredded
1 1/2 cups shredded Yukon Gold potatoes
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
canola oil, or as needed, divided
Stir mashed potatoes, flour, milk, egg, butter, and sea salt together in a bowl. Add shredded potatoes, Cheddar cheese, and zucchini; stir until batter is well-combined.
Heat 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop batter by heaping tablespoons into hot oil. Cook, turning once, until golden-brown on each side, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining oil and batter.