A Giving up…

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season.

Growing up, we didn’t practice Ash Wednesday, Lent, or Maude Thursday.  We leaned more of our emphasis towards Easter and the power of The Resurrection.

As a young girl, I was more interested in the idea of new white sandals and a beautiful dress for the occasion.  Easter to me was about new bonnets, egg hunts and pretty things for my hair—–shallow, I know!

It is awesome to celebrate the power of The Resurrection yet in our busy world of ‘me’ focus there is something sobering and humbling about reflecting on what led Him to the cross and the ultimate price paid for us—His death.

So what is Ash Wednesday?  From my very limited research…(I am in no way extensively knowledgable in this area!)….Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent: a 40 day period of fasting before Easter. 

On Ash Wednesday, ashes are blessed, mixed with either holy oil or water, and placed upon the head with the sign of the cross, or sprinkled on the forehead. The ashes are made from burning palm branches blessed the previous year on Palm Sunday.  The ashes are to remind us of our morality and humanity…for dust you are and to dust you will return (Genesis 3:19).  The ashes are also a Biblical symbol of repentance, sorrow, and humility. There are many examples in the Bible of wearing ashes as a sign of repentance.  {2 Samuel 13:19, Tamar puts on ashes and tears her clothes as a sign of sadness and repentance.  In Esther 4:1-3, Mordecai tears his garments, and puts on sackcloth and ashes; along with fasting.  In Daniel 9 – Daniel turns to the Lord in prayer, fasting and in sackcloth and ashes petitions God on behalf of his people.}

Lent is a time of preparing our hearts for Easter.  The 40 day Lenten period reminds us of Jesus in the desert for 40 days: His time of fasting, praying, preparing…sacrificing…giving up.

So in turn during these 40 days of Lent, we remember, we prepare, we give up.  In some small way, we sacrifice, we fast to remember, to reflect.  Our sacrificing, our humbling, our giving up of something in this world turns our focus towards Him; prepares our hearts for Easter and His sacrifice for us; His death and ultimately the power of His Resurrection and our new life in Him.

On this first day…this Ash Wednesday…I begin anew…a sacrifice, a fast, a giving up of my world to have more of Him in my world.

7 thoughts on “A Giving up…

  1. Hi Rachel, I ennoy reading your blog,I’m now the the bible in 2 years program from our paster, Nathanael is doing it himself. Say hi to David and the kids.

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  2. Rachel, today I participated in a Lent service for the first time in my life. As a child I used to sacrifice something during the Lenten season but I never went to a formal service. Since I am here with Isaac in a Catholic-based hospital, I participated in their chapel service today. First of all, let me say that this trial in my life was not the catalyst for this participation; it only presented the opportunity. For several years I have been convicted that in our Pentecostal “freedom” we have become a casual, shallow people about many things that we have been told are empty “rituals.” In my heart, though, as I sat through Easter services, I knew that there was a deeper level that God was calling me to than just showing up in a new outfit. So today, I received the mark of ashes on my head, aligning myself with the suffering of Christ for the world to see, sharing in a small way in His humiliation by setting myself apart from the world. And now choosing a fast for the next 40 days to discipline myself, deny myself, in order to draw nearer to my Lord. However we choose to do it, may we all hear the voice of the Lord and respond to His call.

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    • Beautiful, Kathy. I’m so happy you were able to attend a service. I agree with you. Sadly, I feel we miss some important opportunities of emptying ourselves for Him. Thank you for sharing! Love you and continually praying for you all.

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  3. Pingback: A Desert Journey ~ Lent | Tripping Over Typeset

  4. Pingback: Lent snuck up on me this year | Tripping Over Typeset

  5. Pingback: When Giving Up is Our Best Option | Tripping Over Typeset

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