BY JADAN ANDERSON
This piece is part of syndicated series in collaboration with Yale Logos for Lent 2021. You can read the original piece at https://www.yalelogos.com/home/lenten-prayer.
I am always delighted to see a cross in ashes on the head of a person I know in passing. There are few signs more perfectly suited as a public declaration of faith in you: the ashes are quiet, yet bold, and its symbolic power is multiplied the more and more it is seen by others. Out of seemingly nowhere, people with this symbol populate the streets, workplaces, and schools. You get the sense that the Christian movement is large and looming, more so than you might have thought.
I think the power of that small smear of ash comes from the fact that it is itself a revelation of the person who wears it. Underneath the trappings of everyday conversations, concerns, and busyness of student life is—for a Christian—this cross; Christ, rather, who grounds them always. With the ashes, that which has grounded them has come again to the surface.
And while the symbol acts as one of testimony for those outside of the faith, the symbol is actually for the person that wears it. When I wear the ashes, it is a symbol for myself, my foundation being brought to the surface—uncovered—reminding me that I am rooted in Christ’s love.
Lord, I come to believe more and more every year that coming out of hiding is a central aspect of Lent. While we are praying, fasting, and giving alms, you are helping us out of hiding. To know ourselves more fully, especially the depth of our own depravity by the standard you have set for who you have created us to be, magnifies the work of the cross and the significance of the resurrection we look toward.
I ask, then, that when we come to you in prayer and repentance, we would come ready to be stripped of any reservations that keep us from hearing you, from knowing your presence. Speak to us clearly and reveal for what and for whom you desire us to pray. Show us, Lord, of what we must repent. Help us respond to your call out of hiding with trust and hope, knowing that it is only in the light of truth that you can prepare us, with clean and pure hearts, to understand the joy of Resurrection Sunday.
Jadan is a junior studying economics.