LENT DAY 1 – ASH WEDNESDAY

GOOD MORNING WORLD

I was going to write about the State of the Union address last night.  I was planning to watch it and then only saw bits and pieces.  What I did watch left me feeling like a Peanuts character saying, ‘WAH WAH WAH’ or ‘BLAH BLAH BLAH’.  He still does not understand what the United States of America is and how we thrive.  It is by working not taking that America thrives.  There is no such thing as a ‘fair share’.  The top 5% of this country are already paying 59% of the taxes.  How is that fair?

Perhaps this is a good day to look at paying forward.  God asked for a tithe.  A tithe is 10% of what you earn.  So let’s do that.  Everyone who earns anything at all levels give 10% to the government.  If you earn $100,000 you pay $10,000.  If you earn $10 you pay $1.00.  Why wouldn’t that work for the government?

Is God’s way a good one?  Today begins a period of 40 days before Easter.  Christians all around the world begin this day to prepare for the Easter joy.  The definition of Lent came from christianity.about.com.

Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count).

Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting,repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ – his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection.

Not all Christian churches observe Lent. Lent is mostly observed by the LutheranMethodist,Presbyterian and Anglican denominations, and also by Roman CatholicsEastern Orthodox churches observe Lent or Great Lent, during the 6 weeks or 40 days preceding Palm Sunday with fasting continuing during the Holy Week of Orthodox Easter. Lent for Eastern Orthodox churches begins on Monday (called Clean Monday) and Ash Wednesday is not observed.

The Bible does not mention the custom of Lent, however, the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes is found in 2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; Daniel 9:3; and Matthew 11:21.

For years I gave up something for Lent.  I gave up chocolate or candy in general or soda or some other treat I enjoyed.  My strong silent husband had me in awe when in his senior year of college he gave up beer!  His fraternity house had a bar in the game room so this seemed like a huge sacrifice to me.  He even completed all 40 days!  Quite a guy this man I married!!!

This is one area where I struggle with my church.  Evidently it is okay not to keep the fast on Sundays as we go to church and are in the presence of our Lord.  I understand this in my head.  In my heart I wonder if Jesus went for the straight 40 days of fasting or if he gave in every 6 days?  Being an all or nothing kind of gal in some areas I struggle with this loophole.   The faith of my birth comes back in full force and I try to honor all 40 days.

I am not sure what I am going to do.  Last year I forgot and after a few days had not had diet soda (I think that was the one I chose) so decided I would give that up.  Most of the time lately I do not sacrifice.  I try to do more.

For instance I may try to do a Bible study for the 40 days.  Or I try to write a note of encouragement to 40 someones each of the 40 days.  Or I try to keep myself on a schedule to keep the house in better shape for my family.  I like this idea better as it pushes me harder than to give up something.

Have you ever taken part in this type of holiday preparation?  Give up or do more?  Perhaps both?  I think in the end the goal is to make we Christians act and live more like Christ.  For some it could be as simple as proclaiming Him every day.

Ashes are distributed on Ash Wednesday and Christians wear them on their forehead today.  The ashes mark the cross on the forehead that symbolizes that all Christians are free from sin through the death and resurrection of Christ.

My favorite Ash Wednesday story has to be from a friend of ours.  Steve traveled often for his work at one time.  He had gone to church on Ash Wednesday and the ashes were on his forehead as he entered the plane and sat down.  People walked by, looked and nodded.  One guy came down the aisle and said: “Hey Dude you forehead is dirty.”  Steve nodded a thank you!!!

One year I decided to read the scriptures daily with my husband.  That was a good 40 days.  I am doing that again this year and think I may add a prayer a day as well. I found some websites to share with you in case you would like to join me.

http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/Lent/Daily-prayers-00.html

http://dailyprayers.prayinglent.com/

http://www.churchyear.net/lentprayers.html

http://wau.org/meditations/current/

I will end today with a simple prayer that these 40 days of Lent be a season of renewal for your spirit.

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…

 

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