As we continue our journey through the season of Lent, let's shift our focus from the outside to the inside, and begin to look at inner changes instead of outer changes. We can do this by following the guidance of the great prophets, who predicts that our lives will be transformed when we make the choice to return, learn, gather and pray.
Yes, this is a day to pray, not to feel dismay.
First, we return to the God who says, "Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning." To return to God is to repent -- to turn around and go in a new and opposite direction. When we repent, we turn to the path that God has laid out for us, so that we are living a life that is different than before.
Novelist and poet Ron Rash says that he is fascinated by the duality of human beings: the capacity for evil, but also for goodness. He tells haunting tales of the American South. "Evil always rises up," he says. "And yet there are always people who fight against it. I am fascinated by the war between what is best in our natures and what is worst."
When we repent, we fight against evil and turn away from what is worst in our natures. We return to God and turn toward what is good, toward what is best in our natures. This fight against evil feels like a war, but with God's help we can win it.