Life for our communities is fast pace. Our work and play in life are scheduled, our days can start at 5am and end with a child or grandchild's activities at 9pm. Our lives can be full to overflowing. Intentional time to take a deep breath and take account of the direction of our lives may seem like a luxury. As followers of Jesus, such seasons are offered to us for our growth, spiritual and emotional wellbeing and as part of our growing life with God.
Lent is a season where are given an opportunity to do just that. Take some intentional "luxurious" time with God, to see if our life's goals are actually being expressed with the way we live and make adjustments that help us reach God's best for us. We kick off the season of preparation for Easter, Lent, next Wednesday evening with an Ash Wednesday service. Traditionally Christians around the world "give something up" for Lent, in other words they pick a time where they abstain for a period of time (say one day each week for 7 weeks) from food, media/tv, etc in order to create time with God and refocus life upon God. This year we will be focused upon giving something "bad" up for lent.
We will kick off Lent Wednesday March 5 at 6pm (Providence Lake Pavillion) with the imposition of ashes. I have included a short description below explaining what we do and why we do this I hope for your well being you will join us and find a way to observe Lent as we journey toward the Cross and the Resurrection our Christ.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent. Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline.
Ash Wednesday emphasizes two themes: our sinfulness before God and our human mortality. The service focuses on both themes, helping us to realize that both have been triumphed through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
During some Ash Wednesday services, the minister will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshipers. The use of ashes as a sign of mortality and repentance has a long history in Jewish and Christian worship. Historically, ashes signified purification and sorrow for sins.
It is traditional to save the palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday service to burn to produce ashes for this service. Sometimes a small card or piece of paper is distributed on which each person writes a sin or hurtful or unjust characteristic. The cards are then brought to the altar to be burned with the palm branches. The ash cross on the forehead is an outward sign of our sorrow and repentance for sins.
- Adapted from The United Methodist Book of Worship, UMC.org
In Christ with you,