Today marks the beginning of the Lenten season, the six weeks that precede Easter. It is Ash Wednesday. It is a season that the Church of Jesus Christ has celebrated and observed for 2,000 years. It is 46 days prior to Easter, with 40 of the days being “fast days” where one will deny himself/herself something (food, TV, social media, etc) for the purpose of being more focused on Jesus and conversation with Him in prayer. It is a sacred season marked by reflection and worship. Originally the practice of fasting for 40 days was intended to mirror the 40 days spent by Jesus in the desert where He fasted from food and was tempted (Matthew 4).
Ash Wednesday serves as a reminder to us that we are mortal, with special focus on Genesis 3:19, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” We can so easily drift into a place where we behave as if we were in God’s position, calling the shots, controlling our own lives instead of allowing Him to be Lord. Ashes in the bible represented grieving and mourning loss, and repentance (turning from our way to God’s way). For many of us, this day is an opportunity to confess our sins and seek forgiveness from God.
We will not be holding an Ash Wednesday service tonight, but if you want to observe this sacred day, we encourage you to attend the Ash Wednesday service at St. Augustine’s Church downtown at 5:30pm. Father Peter Hanson is one our loved friends here in the city and you will be blessed by his leadership.
Today, I am taking extra time for reflection. It was Socrates who said, “The life which is unexamined is not worth living.” I encourage you to take some time in the quiet of solitude to think and pray about where God has you in this Lenten season. Let’s take these next six weeks and really press in close to the heart of God, to learn from Him and enjoy His presence in new and different ways.