Ash Wednesday? Lent? What are those all about? Our church does not officially participate in Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent as do many of the Christian denominations who follow the Liturgical Calendar. The Liturgical Calendar determines specific dates and seasons in the church year (for those churches that follow it) that tie in with the life of Christ, festivals, and the celebration of the saints. Certain Scriptures are read throughout the year that tie in with everything going on with the Liturgical Calendar. The Liturgical Calendar can be a helpful tool for remembering the teachings of Christ, the principles laid out in Scripture, and for living as a dedicated Christian disciple.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the 40-day season of Lent with worship and the application of ashes to the worshiper’s forehead. As the ashes are being applied, a Biblical phrase is said to each worshiper: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). The words remind people that without God, we are simply dust and ashes, and death is the end. The messy smudge in the shape of a cross is a reminder that we live fragile lives in a fragile world. The season of Lent urges us to return to Jesus the source of abundant life.
Although our church does not participate in Ash Wednesday or recognize a season of Lent per se, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be intentional about our faith in these days leading up to Easter. In fact, we should be intentional about our faith during this time. In this season leading up to Easter, we can confess our sins to God and know that through Jesus we receive forgiveness. This forgiveness allows us to be God’s friend through the reconciliation and salvation that Jesus provides. In this season we can ask the Holy Spirit to make us more conscious of living a righteous life that pleases God. We can address the temptations that lead to sin and block our relationship to God and one another by praying more consistently and allowing God’s power to be active within us.
This month leading up to Easter is a great time to get intentional about worshipping regularly as the church, studying the Bible both individually and with a class, and getting involved with each other’s lives through the Sunday night life-groups. That is exactly what the church did from its inception: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). Don’t take Jesus and His church for granted. Be devoted, and get intentional about it.
Working together to win together,