The closing paragraph of the Rev. Anne Kennedy’s Ash Wednesday reflection at her blog Preventing Grace really struck a chord with me:
I have finally, after much consideration, fixed on a discipline for myself for Lent. It came towards the end of Matt’s sermon this morning. He instructed us, bleary eyed as we were at 7 in the morning, to “Rest on the finished work of Christ.” And I felt quite undone by the andmonishment. None of my works are ever completed, even when I only do them one at time. None of my rest is really rest. But Jesus has finished the work of Salvation. His work is perfect and complete. And his work is for me. I don’t have to save myself. I can’t even when I give it the good college try. I fail in all my doings. I have nothing and am nothing. So I will sit down, on his work, and stop trying. There is no holiness for me, this Lent, that doesn’t come from Jesus himself and what he has already done and is continuing to do. So I will sit in the place of his mercy, and be still. And will fail at being still. And all the time, he will go on in his perfect completeness.
These words are such a needed reminder for those of us tempted to turn Lent into an attempt to perform great spiritual disciplines in our own strength.