Thursday, February 26, 2009

Season of Lent





I am going to be removed from the blogging world for the next 40 days, and I'll tell you why....many of you are already very familiar with the season of Lent, others may have heard of it, and it may be a new term for some! I know for me personally, it was a new term to me 7 years ago, when I joined my church! So.....



The period of 40 days prior to Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. The word "lent" comes from the Latin word for "lengthen," because the days of Lent occur during the springtime of the year, when the daylight hours increase. The period consists of 40 days because the number 40 has special biblical significance: Moses and the people of Israel were in the wilderness for 40 years; Jesus was tempted in the desert for 40 days.
Since the days of the early church, in the decades and centuries after the death and Resurrection of Christ, Christians have regarded the period of Lent as a time for repentence and reflection. It is invariably marked by fasting (going without food and/or water for a period of time), by giving up something during Lent (sweets; the sports page), and by taking on such habits that will increase one's devotion to Christ. (It was explained to me that everytime you think about that thing you gave up that you are longing for, you will think of what Christ did for you and therefore, be drawn more to him). Lent begins on "Ash Wednesday" and concludes on Holy Saturday (which is the Saturday before Easter). Also recognized in this season is "Maundy Thursday", which is the Thursday before Easter, when we celebrate the Last Supper that Jesus had with his disciples.


.......So we had "Ash Wednesday" service at church last night,


In a very visible way, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, when we take stock and prepare ourselves for the journey toward Easter. Ashes remind us, with a shock, that we are God's creation, made for God, and not the other way around. Ashes remind us of the brevity of the gift of life, and the grace of eternal life in the heart of God. Ashes remind us that we are born to live, really live, before we die. Ashes remind us of a resolve to a Lent, and a lifetime, of a more authentic relationship with Jesus the Christ. For reasons like these it does not occur to us that we participate in a "strange" custom of ashes and dust. To the contrary. With hearts full of awe, we seek gold and God in the dust. "From dust we came, and to dust we will return"


For me, personally, altough it is a simple brief outward sign, the service and process are very powerful....to see many fellow Christians share recognition that we are so sinful and commit to prepare our hearts for Easter and to a greater commitment to following Christ's example. So, the picture above (an internet link, not anyone at my church!!) shows what the actual receiving of ashes looks like, physically, but to know what it feels like to find yourself closer to Christ in this process is very powerful.


So, all of this to say......I have prayed about it, fought it, went down kicking and screaming, but yes, Blogging and reading others blogs is out for the next 40 days......in years past, I have either given up foods (cokes, deserts) or commited to a 40 day devotion, and some years done nothing....but I feel a little more challenged by giving up blogging, because basically it is my hobby! So, pray that I won't give in!!


See you on Easter Sunday!
(By the way, be sure to read the funny stories under the post about 4 below this one titled "To play or not to play"....somehow it got out of order and is way down there and I can't figure out how to move it up!)

2 comments:

Danielle said...

how admirable are you!! wow!! i think its great that you are willing to make this sacrifice. you'll have to keep up with all of your thoughts/emotions/events and blog, blog away right after easter!

Sarah said...

aw, i'll miss you on here! someone asked me what i was giving up for lent recently...and i said that God knew that i give up my sanity daily by being a mother...so i think i'm good:)