I just realized 2 things.
1.) I am on my computer way too much.
2.) Today is the beginning of Lent, Ash Wednesday.
To many, Lent is a catholic word.
I know I used to think it was.
And many don't even know what Lent is or what its for or why it should effect us or anything.
I know I didn't.
Historically, I guess people have gone to mass or church or service on Ash Wednesday. A day of repentance and the marking of the beginning of Lent.
Ashes were used in the ancient days to express mourning.
Dusting oneself with ashes a way of expressing sorrow for sins and faults and failures and mess ups and all the ways and times that we have blown it.
So, on Ash Wednesday all these people would go to services, kneel at the alter and put ash on their forehead, in shape of a cross.
As a symbol of our need to repent,
and our need to be forgiven.
The priest or the pastor would say something like:
"Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return"
Usually, you would keep that cross on your head all day long, until the sun set.
Not to show yourself haughty or proud,
but rather, as a mourning for humanity.
To show the depravity of us all, apart from God.
A symbol of our need to repent,
and our need to be forgiven.
The Pastor or Priest would then say:
"Turn Away from Sin and be faithful to the gospel" and then later
"Repent, and hear the good news"
So, Ash Wednesday, all of Lent even, is a day, a time of putting aside the things that drag us down, away from God- and putting on something new. The Cross, a need to repent, a reason to be faithful to something bigger than our own lives.
In Hebrews it talks about laying aside all the junk that gets in the way
"let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
Paul says something like that in Phil.
"But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, I press on, for the prize of calling of God" (par.)
Forgetting and Getting Over and Pressing On and Becoming Faithful and Hearing Good News
Those are all things that I want, that I need in my life.
Ash Wednesday and Lent and Easter-and all of life really- are about that, I think. Today is about that.
Traditionally, during lent, people give up something that they really love or want or need for the sake of purifying, simplifying their lives. Some give up chocolate. Others music, or meat. Or whatever.
I was sitting in my room this morning thinking of the things I could give up, and the things I could not give up, and what it means to give something up. Some were easier than others, funny how that works.
Here is the thing. I don't really think lent is about giving stuff up just because its holy, or a good cause or makes you look good. I think Lent, the true lent, is about clearing a space in your life- perhaps a bigger space than you wanted- so that God can fill it up. You know, taking those things that we know are unhealthy and wrong and laying them aside so we can have the better.
I think truly, I want that. I need that.
I need forgiveness and when I feel like just holding a grudge and always remembering.
I need "Getting over" - whether its over somefeelings that were hurt, or an insane crazy last year.
I need "pressing on" when I feel like giving up, when I don't want to get out of bed in the morning, when I feel like not going on.
I need "becoming faithful" when I feel unfaithful. To my family or to my faith or to my world.
I need "hearing good new" when I turn on the tv and all.I.hear. is death and hopelessness and the DOW.
So, essentially. Lent is a very much needed time in my life. And coming to think about it.
We are called to Lent everyday.
Isnt that the message of Jesus?
To love as he did? To forgive and hear and see and press on and get over and
to clear out our lives.... so He can fill it.
He will fill it.