Feb
24
2009

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2344270883_1c699124d8.jpgTomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of Lent. Growing up I had no idea what Ash Wednesday or Lent was. It was only 4 or 5 years ago that I heard about it and found out what these 40 day’s leading up to Easter were all about. What I had heard was that it was a time set aside, 40 day’s prior to Easter to be exact where you fast from something, not just for the sake of fasting, but for the sake of replacing that something with Jesus. Many people around me would fast alcohol, chocolate, sweets, etc. For the first 2 years that I observed Lent I fasted music, not an easy thing to do. Instead of listening to music  I would pray, listen to a pod cast or teaching or nothing at all. It was also during this time that I started running. I found out that it sucks to run without music.

 Mark Van Steenwyk from  Jesus Manifesto gives a good deffinition of Lent. “Lent is the living into a story. By fasting for 40 days, we journey with Jesus Christ, who fasted and was tempted by the Devil for 40 days.” Luke 4:1-13. Another great incite into the season of Lent is from Christine Sine. “Lent, the season before Easter that commemorates the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness before his ministry began, invites us to contemplate our own Christian journey and consider the disciplines that we need to become whole…Today Lent is more often regarded as a season of soul searching and repentance for all Christians as a preparation for the joy and celebration of Easter.” I got this text from the Lent Guide that Christine put out a couple of years ago. You can download the PDF of it here.

I am not sure if you have planned to do something for Lent or not, but I would highly encourage it. It is a time that I anticipate each year where I focus on Jesus. Now don’t get me wrong, I try to focus and walk with Him daily, but this is much more intentional, in that I am giving up something in replacement of Christ. It is a celebration, a journey, a season of sacrifice, prayer and growth. I pray this year that I grow as a follower of Jesus, as a husband, as a father and as a friend. I anticipate Jesus voice and his direction.

Amen

Photo by my friend Johnny Koster

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4 comments so far on “Ash Wednesday

  1. Brandon says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Phil. Like you, I grew up in churches that never did anything for Lent. I walked into the Presbyterian chapel on Ash Wednesday at Whitworth College while visiting campus. I had never heard of Lent, never heard of Ash Wednesday, and even though I was attending a somewhat Pentecostal church at the time I came away convinced that Presbyterians were crazy! I did not set foot in chapel for a year because I thought that they were putting ash crosses on peoples forehead every Wednesday. Truly, I am not exaggerating here! Now look at me! I’ll be smearing ash on people tomorrow night. God has brought me a long way, but like you, I have found the disciplines of Lent to be vital in my relationship with Jesus.

  2. phil says:

    Amen brother, Amen. Tonight I will go to the Lutheran church and get ashed myself. Have a great day Brandon.

  3. Clayre says:

    I so agree with what you’ve written. I started participating in Lent in high school because I had a bunch of high school friends who were catholic and they all did it so I did too. It was all for fun though- a challenge to see if I could make it 40 days without meat or chocolate or whatever weird thing I chose to give up. The past few years I have been taking it more seriously. I try to do a bible study for 40 days and to give something up. Last year I did a study called 40 days of justice by Acting on Aids, which is world visions college ministry. It was great. You would enjoy it. This year I am giving up listening to the radio in my car. I spend a lot of time in the car, and without radio hopefully I can get in some good prayer time with God. It’s hard to actually follow through with prayer and not just replace the radio with my own head noise. Anyway…I always look forward to this time, this journey. I hope your Lenten season is fulfilling!

  4. Lisa McClatchy says:

    I just finished reading a post on Lent here: http://www.thinkchristian.net/index.php/2009/03/05/five-reasons-not-to-give-up-something-for-lent/
    While I understand what the author is trying to say, the tone is SO negative and condescending. (I just thought that I would present this post for contrast with your post)

    Then, moments later, I found myself on your post. The tone is different here- I really appreciate your insight on what Lent is about, and of course your tone! You have captured the essence of the season of Lent, and presented it very well. God bless!

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