So You Really Like Lent? Ash Wednesday @ Crossroads

The following words are given in numerous places to describe what Lent is about:

Early followers of Jesus observed with great devotion the days leading up to Jesus’ suffering and resurrection, and it has become a custom of the Church that before Easter Sunday, there should be a forty-day season of spiritual preparation.

In earlier times, new believers were prepared for Baptism. It was also a time when Christians who had committed serious sin sought to be reconciled in the life of the Church. In this way the whole Church was reminded of the mercy and forgiveness that Jesus taught.

Today, we can use this time to all renew our faith. So you are invited today, in the name of Jesus Christ and his Church, to observe the season of Lent: by self-examination and repentance, by prayer and fasting and self-denial, by reading and reflecting on God’s words in the Bible, and by seeking to give of yourself more than you demand of others.

Like so many things lost in the Protestant reformation, the tradition of Lent has seen a come back. This morning here in the ATL, Neil Boortz got to put his foot in it regarding someone on the news with ashes on their forehead. It is far from common place but more and more, these traditions are making a comeback.

Everyday, my two kids share about their dreams and thoughts about life and the world. Much of what happens from their perspective is not fair. Far too soon, they grow up...but...I wonder... they?

Not long ago, health care didn't save the lives it does to day. In the rest of the world it still doesn't and most kids are VERY aware of this. In fact, most of the world had a much more "grown-up" view of the world.

These days we live in have begun to reintroduce us to a little word not often spoke of and lost to antiquity.


What you give up during Lent, if anything, is far less important than what you take up, namely the cross of our own mortality -
"By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return." (Genesis 3:19 NASB)

I am a pastor so I'm supposed to "like" these little services and traditions right (just like the only music I listen to is Handel's Messiah or the only artwork I hang in my house is from Thomas Kincade)? Sorry, not always, not when the reasoning is flawed and not based in any tradition.

In a sense, I don't like Lent - who really wants to come face to face with being mortal? Yet, it is in facing our mortality; not hiding in tradition and ritual, not ignoring it's grasp through a glut of media and addictive behavior; that we come to humility and our own humanity.

Through the Lenten journey; lived, practiced and reflected upon, we learn to truly face and meet our mortality. And when we do, we may very well find that immortality was never the goal or a promise but simply an astericks or a footnote to the incredible grace of knowing Jesus Christ.

May these 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter lead you into the way of A Generous Life.

If you live in the north Paulding and Cedarcrest Road area and are looking for a service nearby for Ash Wednesday, you are invited to join us at the Seven Hills Clubhouse on Seven Hills Blvd. from 5:30-7pm sponsored by Crossroads UMC.


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