Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"There is nothing more exhausting for the person than the constant awareness that his life is being lived at cross-purposes. At such moments the individual seems to himself ever to be working against himself. What he longs for is the energy that comes from a concentration of his forces in a single direction, toward a single end."(Howard Thurman, The Inward Journey)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Leaving the Land of the Dead
by Dr. Marcus J. Borg

This is what the season of Lent is about, about being born again, about following the path of death and resurrection, about participating in Jesus' final journey. To become somewhat more concrete, some of us may need to die to specific things in our lives--perhaps to a behavior that has become destructive or dysfunctional, perhaps to a relationship that has ended or gone bad, perhaps to an unresolved grief or to a stage in our life that it is time to leave, perhaps to our self-preoccupation, or even to a deadness in our lives (you can die to deadness.) It is possible to leave the land of the dead. So, the journey of Lent is about being born again--about dying and rising, about mortality and transformation.

On Ash Wednesday, we Christians are traditionally reminded of our own mortality in a very vivid way, as the ashes are marked on our foreheads in the sign of the cross. In the sign of the cross we hear the words spoken over us, "Dust thou art and to dust thou wilt return." This is a reminder not just of our physical mortality, but of the very path of Lent itself. We begin this season of Lent not only reminded of our death but marked for death, and that path of death is about our transformation.

The journey of Lent is about being born again by participating in the death and resurrection of Jesus, about that journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. The journey of Lent with its climax in Good Friday and Easter, is about embarking on the way of Jesus on that path of mortality and transformation that is at the very center of the Christian life. When you think of it, who of us does not yearn for this? Who of us does not yearn for a fuller connection to life? Who does not yearn for an identity that releases us from anxiety and self-preoccupation? To be born again, it seems to me, corresponds to our deepest yearning. May we this Lent experience that internal transformation that is at the center of the Christian life. May we experience being born again.

Copyright ©2002 Dr. Marcus J. Borg

--from "Born Again" by Dr. Marcus Borg
Read "Born Again" in its entirety.