Citizens of a World on Fire

It got me remembering the song "Woodstock," by Joni Mitchell.

We are stardust,
Billion year old carbon.
Caught in the devil's bargain.
And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Isn't that what Lent is all about?

Caught in the devil's bargain . . . we've got to get ourselves back to the garden. We've got to be as good as we once were, at the beginning of time.

If you remember the readings from last Sunday, they hinted at the same idea. The first reading, from Genesis, took place in the lush garden of Eden. But then the gospel unfolded in the barren wasteland of the desert. How did we get from one to the other? Human history, and human nature, chart our journey. But Christ's life and ministry sought to draw us back to Eden—calling us to holiness, drawing us closer to what God first intended us to be.

We are stardust, we are golden . . .
And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden.

And so, last week we began, where every gardener begins, with dirt. On Ash Wednesday, we became part of it—and from that we begin the slow, hard work.

Think of these 40 days as our time to tend the seeds of grace, to harvest what has been planted in the ashes. To give them nourishment. To help them grow.

How do we do that?

Let us pray more deeply. Live more simply. Remove the weeds of distraction.

And let in the light.

The light of Christ.

If we do this, we may well be astounded at the minor miracles that have blossomed on Easter morning.

It is all grace, amazing grace, and it leaves us transformed.

Out of the ashes . . . we might again be stardust.

3/18/2011 4:00:00 AM
  • Catholic
  • 9/11
  • Ashes
  • Eden
  • Lent
  • Monks
  • Penance
  • Woodstock
  • Christianity
  • Roman Catholicism
  • Greg Kandra
    About Alonzo L. Gaskill
    Alonzo L. Gaskill is an author, editor, theologian, lecturer, and professor of World Religions. He holds degrees in philosophy, theology, and biblical studies. He has authored more than two-dozen books and numerous articles on various aspects of religion; with topics ranging from world religions and interfaith dialogue, to scriptural commentaries, texts on symbolism, sacred space, and ritual, and even devotional literature.