Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lenten Fasting 2011

** I got this picture from this website.**
Today is Ash Wednesday and it marks the beginning of the Christian Season of Lent. Lent is the 40 days before Easter -- not including Sunday's.

We had an Ash Wednesday Service at church tonight. Hubs gave a great message about getting rid of our garbage that we hang onto. These are things that keep us from honoring God in our bodies, souls and minds. Things like self-righteousness, jealousy, and unbelief to name a few of the many, many things we humans tend to cling to. After the message, we named our garbage by writing on a piece of paper. We nailed it to a cross because the cross symbolizes Jesus who takes our sins away. We then spent some time at the alter before the Lord and received a cross made of Ashes on our foreheads. Some folks probably wonder why we do this on Ash Wednesday.

Well, here is the paragraph from our bulletin's tonight that tell why we do it.

The Meaning of Ashes

The imposition of ashes on the foreheads of Christians is an ancient Christian practice, going back at least to the 10th century. Biblically, ashes are a symbol of purification and penitence (see Numbers 19:9, 17; Hebrews 9:13; Jonah 3:6; Matthew 11:21; and Luke 10:13)

In the early church, people who had been separated from the church because of serious sins might seek to be re-admitted to the fellowship by observing a formal period of penitence during Lent. These people were generally sprinkled with ashes or given rough garments sprinkled with ashes as a sign of their sorrow for their sins.

Beginning in the tenth century, the observance of Ash Wednesday became a general rite for the church. The ashes, which were a symbol of purification in the Old Testament, remind us that we are mortal. In many churches, the ashes are made by burning the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday {ours were}. Ashes are placed on the forehead, usually in the sign of a cross, in a ritual known as the Imposition of Ashes. As the ashes are placed on the forehead, words such as these are spoken: "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return," recalling God's words to Adam in Genesis 3:19.

Ash Wednesday services are definitely NOT feel good services. But they are a good think, I think!

So, as I said above, Lent is the Christian Season in which we prepare ourselves for Easter. It's traditionally a time of fasting from something. As as aside, on the news tonight, I saw that apparently there are a lot of people fasting from facebook. HA!

Anyways - back to the fasting. I am choosing to fast from meat this year for Lent. Actually, I've been praying about it and I feel that meat is what God has told me to fast from this year. This isn't about fasting for the sake of fasting. We are to fast in order to take stock of our spiritual lives and draw closer to God. Which leads me to the next part. While fasting and taking a good hard look at myself -- like we did during the Ash Wednesday service tonight -- I believe that i need to leave that garbage at the cross and put on the characteristics of Jesus, instead. I wrote a good many things on that paper that I nailed to the cross.

But one of the things that I will be putting on is trying to have God's love for everyone. Even my, gasp, enemies. My friend, Kandi, told me yesterday that she was planning to put on praying for her enemies every day during Lent. I knew at that moment that God wanted me to do exactly the same thing. So, I, too, will be praying for my "enemies" in the next 40 days and asking God to help me love them as he does. And every time I have a longing for meat, I will pray again. For my enemies and for strength and the discipline to obey my Father in heaven.

We all do some kind of fasting for Lent. Hubs is fasting from the midday meal during Lent. I talked to the girls this afternoon about what they wanted to give up (fast from) for Lent. Maggie and Lillie are giving up candy, again. I am happy with that -- candy is super important when you are 6 and 7.....and sometimes even when your 37. Allie has chosen to give up her email for Lent. That's big for her. She loves sending and getting email.

And something just a big lighter about this whole thing. Allie sent out a mass email to all of her contacts this afternoon to inform them of her Email fast....this is what it said.

Do not email me for 40 days. I am giving it up for lent.So do not expcet a anser really qucik
allie "

I got a bit of a kick out of it when it showed up in my email this afternoon.

Will you be in prayer for us all during this Lenten Season. And, I encourage you however you got about it to prepare your hearts. The King is Coming!!!

in HIM-

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Thanks for the description of Lent. I've been trying to explain it to the kids. Also when Easter is over maybe Allie and Drennan can exchange e-mail addresses. He, too, LOVES to get e-mail!