Tuesday, February 9, 2016

What is Ash Wednesday?

Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.
Matthew 3:2 (NLT)

Let’s think about repentance, humility and self-denial…

The Shrove Tuesday indulgence is over. Lent has begun.

The 40 days of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and culminates with the resurrection.  It is a self-reflective season of repentance and humility, preparing our hearts for Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. It’s a time to intentionally grow closer to God.

I have participated in the practice of Lenten fasting for 5 years and find that it deepens my relationship with God. I eliminate something from my daily routine (a false idol?) and instead, focus my attention on Him. Selecting something personally meaningful is key: Chocolate? Caffeine? Social media? TV? 

Why fast? 

There are several explanations. Some say they lean on God for strength when tempted by the taboo item, so fasting from a true crutch both repents of your dependence on an idol and increases your dependence on God. Others explain that each temptation reminds them of Jesus’ sacrifice. A Catholic friend recently told me the sacrifice is our penance for the sins we’re repenting.

A more modern version adds an act of self-sacrifice during Lent – like reading Scripture or praying (if these aren’t already daily habits) or increased acts of service. These are appealing and could definitely bring you close to God.

How do you observe Lent? Do you fast? Add a spiritual practice? If so, why?  Please share!

An excellent 2 minute video for understanding Lent, including the practice of wearing ashes on one’s forehead, is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3L3c23MfC0

Also Lucinda Secrest McDowell has blogged about Lent and the practice of fasting in

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Cathy. I don't practice it. I will pray to see if this is something God would want me to do. Like you, focusing on God and not what we can do for Him is what I would do. Christ already paid the ultimate sacrifice, we don't have to do anything to earn His love. We can, however, live a life worthy of our calling. Thank you for giving me something to pray about and meditate on.