Lenten Devotional: March 19, 2021

The Deep End of Faith
by Molly Stanley

Photo by Cristian Palmer on Unsplash

Dr. Kate Bowler {Duke University professor, historian, and author} refers to Lent as the “deep end” of our faith. We celebrate Christmas, ring in a new calendar year, settle into fresh goals for the months ahead, and before we know it, we’ve been thrown into the deep end.

Each year, I go through the same routine. I am paralyzed at first by the seemingly sudden arrival of Ash Wednesday. The numbness is followed by a pressure to quickly commit to something I should go without for 40 days. I scramble to think of something worthy but realistic, and usually turn up empty-handed. But by day three, I come around to being gentle with myself – to hold the space, listen, and reflect. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

My Lenten ritual has become centering myself on doing nothing. Just being. Sitting in the void. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. “Lent is learning to sit in the ashes” – perhaps this year more than ever. Although hints of spring and vaccine rollout give us hope, we’re still in the dusty depths of the deep end. As we live each day in the “not yet” and continue to strengthen that uncertainty muscle we’ve been training for a year, I encourage you to find comfort in this season. It may feel cold and dark, but you are not alone.

Prayer: Dear God, guide me through the deep end. Help me see the world as it is and confirm that when we see a lot of dust, sometimes it’s ok to be still.

P.S. If you’re looking for a good podcast, check out Everything Happens with Kate Bowler.