Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the season of Lent on the Christian Calendar. Lent is the 40 days, not including Sundays, before Easter.
On Ash Wednesday in my church, we have a special service. In tonight's service, Ken spoke of getting rid of the garbage that stands between us and Jesus. What is it, in our lives, that is keeping us from letting His Light shine through us?
We wrote those things on slips of paper and nailed them to a cross. By nailing them to the cross, we are giving those things to him. Spending time in prayer at the altar, asking forgiveness for allowing these things to come between us and our Savior. We then had ashes imposed on our foreheads to symbolize the Old Testament practice of someone putting ashes on their heads when they were sorrowful about something. Just as we are sorrowful for the things that stand between us and Jesus.
It is a beautiful, and very powerful service for me each year. I shared earlier the call I feel God has for me this Lenten season. In addition to reading the book about contentment, I also have two other devotions that I plan to read during this season.
One is on my Holy Bible App and is called "Lent for Everyone". It is created and written by NT Wright, a New Testament Scholar and one of my favorite authors. I also love to listen to him speak.
I will also be doing 40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Chole. This book has a devotion, scripture reading, something to fast from each day, and a place for journaling.
I can already tell that each of these difference Lenten disciplines is going to challenge me, which is the point. This quote about the purpose of Lent was in the 40 Days book tonight.
"The purpose of Lent is not to force on us a few formal obligations, but to 'soften' our hearts so that it may open itself to the realities of the spirit, to experience the hidden 'thirst and hunger' for communion with God." --- Reverend Alexander Schmemann
I think that says very well what Lent is to be all about. Not adding rules for the sake of rules. But to help us to get rid of the garbage that is standing in the way of communion with God. Decrease in self so HE can increase. Because that is the only way His Light can shine through me.
Looking forward to the journey of Lent this year.
What does your Lenten call look like? What will your journey be?