Friday, February 27, 2009

Ash Wednesday and Lent

In a classroom, an older man rails against "this silly Catholic celebration of Ash Wednesday and Lent." Down the hall in the sanctuary, congregants receive ashes on their foreheads and hear their first Lenten message of the season.

The man will go home satisfied that "he told them" (anyone who heard him) what was truth and what was error. The sanctuary folks will go home penitently with serious thoughts about the crucifixion, but also thinking about as Harry Emerson Fosdick wrote,"...what we Christians, all these centuries since he was here, have been doing to him."

These two scenes depict what is happening in some segments of my fellowship. Some walk down the old paths; others are finding inspiration in the traditions of others. Do these paths ever converge somewhere in the middle? I doubt it.

Which path will survive? Some of the thousands who have left my fellowship over the past few years will say, "Not the old one."

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