(Inserting a preemptive apology to my Catholic friends and followers… I am sorry.)
As a Protestant, (that even holds a Theology degree) I have never honored Ash Wednesday as anything unique, other than the start of the Easter season. But I have observed those who attend an Ash Wednesday service and usually receive a cross made of ashes on their forehead to wear for a day.
I’ve never done so myself.
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday when this will be practiced by thousands all over the world, so I’d like to address a couple of things about it. Consider it a short Lent refresher class with value for you (and me) regardless of what we believe.
“Ash Wednesday (46 days before Easter) marks the beginning of Lent which is a 40-day period (not counting Sundays) marked by repentance, fasting, reflection and celebration.” (Christianity.com/Kelly Givens) It is intended to represent the 40 day period that Jesus spent fasting in the desert. It’s purpose is for believers to have a set time each year to focus on Jesus’ life, sacrifice and resurrection. For them to have a set time each year to self-reflect, evaluate, repent as needed and say no to their own desires by fasting (going without) some food or thing.
Without any ashes on my forehead, I see great value in that.
There’s no doubt in my mind that our world in general and my/your personal world would benefit from more reflective and evaluative times like this. Times when we intentionally deny our wants to pursue a new set of eyes, decluttered heart and fresh purpose.
Although the Catholic Church observes specific “rules” for this season, that is not my vision for us/this.
I truly believe that those who are looking for inspiration, change, breakthrough, effectiveness, wisdom, strength, and purpose will find it in this concept and can find it in this 40-day season.
Change doesn’t come by doing the same thing over and over. That’s called a rut. Others have called it a grave. Change comes because someone dared to do something different. Something different has been done and thereby reflected in something new and fresh in your life.
What do you have to loose should you give yourself to a season of personal evaluation & repentance? What’s the down side of refusing to indulge in something you like for a while? Seriously? You will not die without it! That’s sacrifice.
What just might happen in your life should you get intentional about the changes you may be looking for? What might happen should your effort match your desire? Isn’t the change you seek worth it?
I’m sorry, I don’t mean to preach. I am just so passionate about this right now because I am giving myself to this concept beginning March 1- April 9. Those are my 40 days! My lent. And I am excited… albeit a bit nervous, but I’m in. Going for it.
Anyone wanna join me?
Do whatever you feel, go without what you feel impressed to, but don’t stay in a rut. Let’s do some reflection, repentance, and celebrating change! Let’s get off the “rut” freeway.
Now is your time (and mine).
Cheers to you.