Three of the four Gospel books tell us that Jesus fasted for forty days in the desert. Since early days, Christians have symbolically followed Jesus to the desert as a way of preparing for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The forty days leading up to Easter are a time of prayer, fasting, and self-denial. This year, Lent begins on March 1st, Ash Wednesday.
During Lent, we take on spiritual disciplines. This is the time to pray about what disciplines you will take on. You may want to give something up (sweets, alcohol, television, Facebook, etc.), or take something on (special reading, serving the poor, extra financial giving, etc.). The purpose of these disciplines is not to punish ourselves for our sins. Jesus took all the punishment for us. Rather, the disciplines are meant to empty us so that the Lord may fill us. We are making ourselves available to Christ in hopes of growing in our faith.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 1st. On this day, our church offers you the chance to kneel and receive the “mark of our mortal nature.” Palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday have been gathered, burned, and turned into ashes. A priest will put this ash on your forehead in the sign of a cross while saying, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The ashes of Palm Sunday remind us that even our greatest victories fail, and that all of our glory is destined for the trash bin. We are made of the basic elements of the universe: the dirt and the dust. What we are made of, we’ll return to. Ash Wednesday sets the tone for the rest of this holy season.
Ash Wednesday Services will be held on 7:00 a.m., noon, and 7:00 p.m. The evening service will include music and childcare. All are welcome.