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Goats and Soda, Cupid, Dust and the Dragon
This week in February has a unique significance this year. It is the start of the Lenten season – a time for reflecting on our humanity, sins and mortality. Many of us mark the beginning of the 40 days of fasting, reflection and repentance with ashes (dust) marked on our forehead in the symbol of a cross. Today, Lent coincides with Valentine’s Day…a day symbolizing love and romance, which is often marked with gifts, roses, chocolate, and an elegant dinner for two. The coinciding of these two special days, on February 14, poses a challenge for us Christians. There is the juxtaposition of dust, darkness and death with love and light, as well as the dilemma of abstaining from sweets and meats but also capturing cupid’s bow with a magnificent meal and cacao confections. Ugggh, “the struggle is real!”
Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day also share the week with the seventh day of the Lunar New Year – renri/jan jat. This day in the Year of the Dragon, February 16, 2024, is said to be when the Chinese mother goddess, Nuwa, created humanity. It is referred to as “the people’s birthday.” The final day of the Lunar New Year, also celebrated this month, marks the departure of winter and the beginning of the spring season. People light lanterns to symbolize driving out darkness and bringing hope to the coming year.
These three holidays are a trifecta of significance, as well as opportunity. An opportunity to reflect and call out the daily assaults of death and darkness that threaten to poison our spirits. An opportunity to repent and depart from the rage and rancor spewed by hate, greed and unjust power. An opportunity to step up and light a path towards God’s love and bring back hope for ourselves, neighbor, and humanity.
Reflection: In NPR’s blog, "Goats and Soda: Stories of Life in a Changing World", a reader implores, Let us listen to each other and remember that each of us has a story, a background, loves, losses, laughter, and tears. In that listening and remembering, let us share our humanness, rather than compete, and lift each other in the collective care of our world. Whose story are you sharing your humanness?
Praying Through The Seasons With Wesley
Journey with Wesley Theological Seminary (WTS) through the seasons of the liturgical and academic year. Connect through prayer with the Wesley Community, on campus and in ministry around the world.
Please return here each season to rekindle a rhythm of prayer that unites the Wesley Family, no matter where we are.