I left the Noon service with an inordinate desire for black licorice jelly beans. Fortunately I had just bought some for a Lenten activity with my children. Then, I ate them all, leaving no black candy stones to symbolize sin.

 

If only I could get rid of my own sin so quickly, and with such satisfaction.

 

Of course, that is what Lent is all about – seeing how stubbornly sin clings, like those ashes the priest put on my forehead. Those crosses don’t dissolve as easily as the licorice.

 

I never think that I look strange with my ashen cross. But everyone else returning from the altar looks like they have a big bullseye between their eyes. They look like people marked for death. Some hide their crosses under bangs or ballcaps. But hiding the mark doesn’t make it go away.

 

The minister invited us to observe a holy Lent “in the name of the Church.” It is not for myself that I choose these 40 days of fasting. It’s for my brother, my mother, my husband and children.

 

Even now, the Lord sounds the trumpet to turn delight to despair, joy to mourning, feasting to fasting. Calling me to turn from all delights (including licorice) except Himself.