Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lent - A Bright Sadness

Tonight was my second Ash Wednesday service - and no, I am not Catholic. Since most people do associate Ash Wednesday with Catholicism, I thought I would clarify. The following is from a postcard that was handed out tonight at Trinity Grace Church's Ash Wednesday service.

What is Lent?
Lent is the forty days preceding Easter, traditionally a period of mourning, fasting and self-examiniation. Lent is inspired, in part, by the forty days that Jesus spent alone in the desert, fasting and being tested by Satan. This season in the church calendar begins every year on Ash Wednesday and ends as Holy Saturday turns into Easter morning.

Why Lent?
We observe Lent as a community to help us identify with Jesus in His sufferings, and to prepare us for the great celebration of Easter. Any event is made more significant by preparation. We look forward more to Easter when we spend seven weeks changing our lifestyles, deliberately seeking God, and waiting for Easter to come.

Ways to Observe Lent:
Traditionally, Lent is a time to give something up, or to take something on. For example, someone might fast from sweets, meat, coffee, or something else that is important to them. Fasting is a way of identifying with Jesus in His life, since he gave up being God to live with us. Another way to observe Lent is to deliberately add a spiritual practice to increase our awareness of God: an extra hour of prayer, a Lenten devotional, reading through the Gospels more regularly. Be creative. Ask God how He wants to meet you this season.

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