Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday 2012

Today is Ash Wednesday which is the first day of Lent

Lent is the 40 days (excluding Sundays) before Easter.
Sundays are not included because each Sunday is a mini celebration of Jesus' resurrection. More on Lent to come. Back to Ash Wednesday.

A lot of different Protestant denominations do not hold Ash Wednesday Services but the United Methodist Church does.  At our Ash Wednesday Services we are called to think of our own sinfulness and the things that are blocking our relationship with the Lord.
Tonight, we started  with this prayer of reproach.

We haven't heard your silence, Lord.
We haven't been still long enough to notice 
Our minds have been running faster than our feet.
Even when we are stopped we still go on.
Slow us, O Lord.
Slow us to your silence.
Let you enter us.
Let us stop.
Let us rest.
Let us weep.
Let us be cleansed by your Holy Silence.
Amongst the noise that we have created within us. 

Right there, I was struck.  
I knew God was speaking to me.  
I haven't been still enough to notice His silence.
I was very convicted in that moment of the busy -ness in my life.  
I have had a week.  I had a meeting on Monday night, two meetings last night, church service tonight, a meeting for church tomorrow evening and then book club, and then an event that is being sponsored by the church to work on ALL day Friday. 
I've been jokingly saying all week that I've got too many iron's in the fire.
Tonight, I know that it isn't a joke.  

Hubs gave a great meditation on ways that we pretend to be things we aren't .  The things we hide and act like we aren't doing.  
After his message, we were invited to Name our sins - our areas of pretending - the things we wanted to give God and write them on a piece of paper.  I had several -- one of which was my busy-ness.  
Then we were invited to Nail our sins to the cross.  Very powerful symbolism.  And then spend some time in prayer at the alter.  

Lastly, we received the ashes on our foreheads in the shape of a cross.  
Ashes are a symbol of purification and penitence in the Bible.  

 Although it is a very serious and somber kind of service, it is also a very powerful one.

Lent is a a time of repentance and spiritual renewal before Easter.
A lot of people "fast" from something during Lent.
The purpose of fasting from something is that when they crave that "something" that they would focus on God and what he has done for us on the cross instead.
This is a good thing when it is truly a time of fasting and refocusing on God.
It is not a good thing when it is ritual for ritual's sake.   {THAT is a pet peeve for me, I suppose.}

So, I was already contemplating what I was going to "do" for Lent this year....whether or not  I would give something up.  And after hearing God speak of my "busy- ness" ever more clearly tonight, I know what to do.
My busyness has kept me from spending time with God in His Word in times when it is just about being with HIM and being quiet with HIM.
Instead of giving something up, I am going to spend time in HIS Word .  I am going to work on memorizing some scriptures that have to do with the other areas of pretending that I gave to God tonight.  I want this Lenton Season to be a true season of repentance and preparation for me.  Will ya'll help hold me accountable for what I'm saying?  
It's going to be hard, but I'm committed and with HIS help, I can do it!  

This last picture is just fun.
After the service we were hanging out in our Asbury Room and there were leftover pancakes (from our Shrove Tuesday supper) on the counter.
These people decided to enjoy a few more.....

Hope your Ash Wednesday was as meaningful as mine.  
Here is to 40 days of quiet time in HIS WORD for the sake of being with him and being fully prepared for the  celebration of Easter to come!


1 comment:

Catherine Anne said...

Great post. Your church family makes me think of ours. Love the pics.
Blessed Lent, Catherine Anne.