With that being said, let me share some thoughts that are in my mind this Ash Wednesday.
- Ash Wednesday begins the Christian season of Lent.
- Lent is the 40 days that precede Easter, excluding Sundays. Sundays are not included because they are little celebrations of Easter itself.
- We celebrate Lent for 40 days because of the 40 days that Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. He fasted and confronted Satan for that time period.
- Ashes are imposed on the first day of Lent to symbolize the mourning that we have when dealing with death. "We are ashes, and to ashes we will return."
- The ashes are obtained by burning the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday worship service.
This evening we had a worship service to celebrate the imposition of ashes. In addition to confessing our sins, praying, being pardoned and reading the Scripture, I was able to share a few thoughts about Lent. This year I am going to focus on giving for Lent.
- Giving up things. Many of the traditions of Lent have to do with sacrificing or fasting certain items. Some people give up chocolate, or meat, or pop. We do need to make sacrifices to begin to understand Christ and his gift to us.
- Giving up. There are things that you are doing in your life that you need to stop. You need to give up, to surrender. God wants something better for your life.
- Giving up control. One of the great paradoxes of the Christian faith is that humans long to be independent and in control. Following Christ, however, requires that he be in control of our lives.
- Giving. To be truly Christian we must be gracious and generous, welcoming and loving to all people. That means that we should be open, that we should share and that we should contribute as often as we can.
- Forgiving. We have all been hurt or taken for granted. For Lent this year we should all focus on those who have wronged or taken advantage of us. After all, our bitterness only hurts us.
Join me in this season of Lent by being a "Giving Person," won't you?