Sunday, February 17, 2008

Phoenix and Lent

On Ash Wednesday, we sang the song ashes, which has a line which goes "We rise again from ashes". This reminded me of the Phoenix, made famous in recent times by Fawkes from the Harry Potter series, and I was just wondering if it could be used to symbolise our lenten journey.

The Phoenix is a mythical bird, found in ancient Egyptian, Greek and Oriental cultures. It is supposed to live to 500 years, at which it will make a nest, set it and itself on fire, and from the ashes that remain lies an egg from which the phoenix will be reborn.

The interesting thing I found out in searching the net for info on the phoenix, was that because of this characteristic of rebirth of the phoenix, it was used by the early christians as a symbol for Christ and the Resurrection.

Anyway back to the Phoenix and the Lenten Journey. In the book, Dumbledore, tells Harry that Fawkes had been looking dreadful and was about time for him to be reborn. And so it is with us, who might have grown weary, sinful, distant from God. Lent is a time of rebirth, of renewal, although most of the time it seems like it is more burning than rebirth. But that is the purification process that we have to go through in our relationship with God. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving, may seem like fire, but only if we go through it do our impurities get removed and we have a deeper encounter with God.

Lent is spring, it is about new life. The movie got the rebirth of Fawkes slightly wrong, they skipped the egg part. But just think about it, out of the ashes of lent, comes the egg, which has been used as a symbol for Easter. An egg carries in it new life. So this lent, focus on rebirth, renewal, new life with God, and fan the flames of prayer, fasting and alsmsgiving.

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