Today is Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent and the beginning of the Christian spiritual journey of remembering Jesus’ road to the Cross and death. Ash Wednesday is followed by Roman Catholics, the Eastern Church, and many Protestant denominations/groups. You might have seen people ashed with the sign of the cross on their foreheads. A priest or minister usually administers the ashes with the saying, “From dust you come, and dust you will return.”
Traditionally, Lent is a 40-day season (not counting Sundays) marked by repentance, fasting, reflection, and ultimately celebration. The 40-day period represents Jesus’ time of temptation in the wilderness, where he fasted and where the satan tempted him. Lent asks believers to set aside a time each year for similar fasting, marking an intentional season of focus on Jesus’ life, ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection. Lent is not in the Bible, but a solemn tradition that began from the earliest days of the followers of Jesus. The path of Lent consists of prayer, fasting, and generosity over a period of 40 days. My friend Kris said that Lent is a time to embrace limits, to honor our creatureliness, and let go of the notion that we are owed unlimited comfort.
Pastor Eula and I invite you to practice the spiritual journey of Lent. If you wish to do so, let us begin the journey of Lent with the sign of the cross on your forehead. Since we are in the midst of the pandemic, I invite you to look at yourself in the mirror (please take a good amount of time to look at yourself fully…all the beautiful aspects that make you uniquely a child of God… then send love and acceptance to yourself). Take a deep breath and then cross your forehead with a finger and speak the same words: “From dust you come, and dust you will return.”
For Lent this year, Pastor Eula and I will be sending out emails (starting Thursday) for every day of Lent except Sundays. In the emails, we will meditate/reflect on a word we find in a passage of Scripture and share that with you. I will do the first 20 days, Pastor Eula will do the next 20 days.
I hope that you will find time to pray, fast, and be more generous during Lent. What will you give up? Will you fast a meal everyday? How will you give more generously? The choices are many and full of insight.
God bless us as we embark on this spiritual journey together.