Lent is upon us. On Wednesday we heard again those two great warnings with which we begin this season: ‘Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return’ and ‘Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel’. These are words which conflict so starkly with our modern society’s obsession with fame, wealth and youth. But as well as warnings they also contain the seeds of hope. We are dust, fashioned by God himself, but we shall rise again from the dust. By being faithful to the gospel we shall come to eternal life and everlasting happiness. The cross is traced in ashes on our foreheads, but that same cross was traced on our foreheads with holy oil at our baptism. We are marked men and women – we are marked with the cross that saves us.
The readings of this Sunday and next, which have been heard by Christians beginning their Lenten journey for over a millennia, tell us more. In Jesus we are tempted – but in him we also overcome. The devil is not too powerful for us because the man Jesus has triumphed. As we journey through Lent we realise that we are on the road to the cross and the resurrection. It is our story that is unfolding. P.D.