Creation, Cross, and The Powers

“Remember O Mortal that you are dust, and to dust you will return.” I started today with a sparsely attended early morning Ash Wednesday service. On this first day of Lent, I heard these words that resound through the ages as ashes were used to make the sign of the cross on my forehead. The ritual was  followed by Holy Communion.

Mortality and repentance are the themes of Ash Wednesday. They bring us face to face with 1) our mortality as created beings, interrelated and interdependent with all other parts of creation and 2) our complicity in evil through cultural accommodation, resignation to ways of being that are dehumanizing, and participation in institutions and systems that perpetuate the suffering of humanity and the undoing of God’s creation.

These themes are a fitting start to the season of Lent, a season of the church year set apart for repentance and preparation for Holy Week and Easter.

This year my Lenten blog series is “Creation, Cross, and The Powers.” The focus is on the importance of linking creation theology and a theology of the cross with a demythologized understanding of the biblical “powers and principalities.” Seeing how these themes are linked will help us gain a comprehensive perspective on the multiple threats facing creation (including humanity), and to discern how we can faithfully respond. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, no worries. These short, bite-sized posts will help clarify why linking these themes is important or will, at least, whet your appetite for coming to an understanding of your own.

This blog series draws from a previous 2017 blog series: A Lenten Call to Resist; from my most recent book, The Cross in the Midst of Creation: Following Jesus, Engaging the Powers, Transforming the World (2022, Fortress Press); and from work I am doing in preparation for co-leading a retreat with Bill Wylie-Kellerman in April at Kirkridge Retreat Center in Pennsylvania on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the publication of William Stringfellow’s groundbreaking book on the principalities and powers, An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land. It makes sense that the 3-day retreat will take place over the weekend that includes Earth Day, and will be called The Powers in the Midst of Creation.

Lent is a time to “pick up your cross and follow” Jesus, to reflect on his life and teachings, to enter into his passion for the reign of God, and to accompany him through the wilderness, into his conflict with the governing authorities, to his death on the cross for subverting Empire, and ultimately to the resurrection. Through facing the realities of our time, practicing what it means to follow Jesus, and relying on the mercy and power of God, the Lenten journey can become a means of personal transformation that can contribute to the transformation of the world.

This is the initial post in a Lenten series on Creation, Cross, and The Powers. The others will be listed here as they are published.

  1. Creation, Cross, and The Powers.
  2. Extraordinary TemptationsThe Spirituality of an Epoch
  3. The Spirituality of an Epoch
  4. Creation: Moving from Awe to Lament to Resistance
  5. Banking on Our Future as Demythologized Exorcism

See previous Ash Wednesday posts here. Follow Sharon’s blog by signing up at the “Follow” link to the right. Share with the Social Media buttons below. Contact Sharon to request a presentation or to order discounted bulk copies of her books.  Discussion guides and video introductions of her books are also available.


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