Growing up, Ash Wednesday was a big deal in our house. Mom and Dad would round up all four of us kids and take us to church where we would get our foreheads marked with a cross. We were then told that it would be a good thing to give up something we liked in remembrance of Jesus who gave up his life for us. They probably preferred that we give up tattling on each other or bickering but we chose to give up chewing gum or jumping rope instead. For the first few days it didn’t seem like a sacrifice but given a bit of time I would start to yearn for that Juicy Fruit. Sacrifice—‘tis the season!
As we experience Lent and all it entails leading up to the ultimate sacrifice recalled by Christians worldwide at this time of year, we are (for the first time ever) experiencing another type of sacrifice. Regardless of country, political system, race, religion, education or any of the other things we identify ourselves by, we are all in the beginnings of sacrificing something—our life styles, our financial security, our preferences, our movement patterns around the world, around the country, around town, around our neighborhood. We are asked to do or not do things that aren’t common for us and our families. It is shaking us up! It is causing panic for some, profound fear for others—uncertainty for everyone. It has hit fast and hard and has not taken me much time to start yearning for “normalcy” like I yearned for a stick of Juicy Fruit.
Many of the sacrifices we are experiencing are for the safety and welfare of people in our world who are vulnerable. It has been difficult to convince many of the importance of this when their own experience has been so unaffected. All of this upheaval will be temporary. This time of isolation will end and we will resume our social lives and habits… we will start chewing gum and jumping rope again.
Jesus’s sacrifice was also for those who were vulnerable—all of mankind, yesterday, today and forever. It was a huge price to pay—one that was never intended to be temporary. It changed the world forever. That realization may help us to put our own present sacrifice in perspective.
Judy Morgan, elder