I was having a conversation with a friend of a different faith tradition this past week and mentioned that we have an Ash Wednesday Service coming up.
“Ah, the thing with the ashes right? What’s that all about?” was the response.
It is easy to forget that many of us did not grow up with the tradition and therefore do not understand the significance of some of the practices. I’m sharing an article with you from The Upper Room that gives an overview of the history and significance of Lent, which you can find here (written by one of our own North Alabama UMC Pastors):
I love how the author presents the opportunity available to each of us during the season of Lent.
“Lent is a great time to “repent” — to return to God and re-focus our lives to be more in line with Jesus. It’s a 40 day trial run in changing your lifestyle and letting God change your heart.”*
For us, Lent is a time to reflect on our brokenness and our need of God’s grace. When we fast (whether from food or an activity) and pray, we invite God’s presence to speak to us and lead us into a deeper relationship. When we do acts of service, we show our commitment to partnering with God in the work of the Gospel (the Good News) by focusing on others rather than on ourselves. We may give up a habit and then decide to make that change permanent. We may begin a new practice of service and find God has given us a passion for something we never had before!
I pray that we will begin this season of Lent together asking God to direct our lives to further live out our calling of loving God and loving Neighbor!**
*Lent 101 is copyright © 2010 The Upper Room, PO Box 340004, Nashville, TN 37203-0004, www.upperroom.org. All Rights Reserved; used with permission.