Join us for Ash Wednesday worship and the beginning of the season of Lent on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, at 7 PM. Ash Wednesday worship will include the Imposition of Ashes and Holy Communion. It is a solemn worship to begin this reflective season in the church year. This worship helps to set the tone for our faith life for the next six weeks.
The season of Lent is a 40 day period (excluding Sundays) leading up to the celebration of Easter. This time is marked with the theme of repentance. The “ashes” in Ash Wednesday are a symbol of sorrow. In Bible times, people would put on “sackcloth and ashes” in times of mourning. During Lent, we grieve our sin and the result of sin which is death. We remember the great sacrifice of Jesus, that he died on the cross to forgive sins. The climax of this season is Good Friday, which is the day which we observe Jesus’ death. But the sorrow of Good Friday soon gives way to the joy of Easter when we celebrate the resurrection. The sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). So even though the season of Lent is filled with sorrow and grief, it is always observed in the light Easter.
Many Christians will use this season to practice the biblical discipline of fasting. This is to set aside food for a period of time and to focus on our hunger for God. Fasting is setting aside one thing (namely food) to experience something greater. It is to say I need God more than I need food. Through fasting we experience greater closeness and intimacy with our Creator and Savior. Instead of eating lunch, you might consider using that time to feast upon God’s Word. In the words of Jesus:
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4, ESV)
The practice of “giving something up” for Lent comes from the spiritual discipline of fasting. I have written a book called the 40 Things to Give up for Lent and Beyond. It is a devotion book to be used during this season. It looks at things that are truly worth giving up rather than the superficial things that people often give up during the season. Many of these things listed in the book are not just things to give up for Lent, but for the rest of your life. You can see the list at my blog or pick up the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iBooks.
This year, I am planning another 40-day devotional called the 40 Things NOT to Give up for Lent. You can sign up to receive these devotions via email at greaterthings.today/mailing-list. May God bless your observance of Lent in 2017.