Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the 40 Days of the Lenten Season, a time to evaluate our spiritual lives and redirect our life-focus as followers of Jesus. The 40 days gives us time to make adjustments to our behavior, i.e. repentance, a returning to God.
The PURPOSE of Observing Ash Wednesday is to bring the claims of Christ clearly on our lives that we may identify with Him in a meaningful manner and prepare our hearts for growing worship as we approach Easter. As we realize our need to cultivate a focus on Christ we can identify with Him when we engage in following Him in some specific ways during this time.
- The 40 days give me time to renew my commitment to Christ.
During these 6 weeks I may. . .
- STOP and reflect on the claims of Jesus on my life.
- ADJUST the pace of my life to grow with God.
- GET UP an hour earlier one day a week to pray/could be daily.
- FAST (do without) a comfort or blessing of life.
- FEED my spirit in prayer, Scripture and worship.
- GIVE money to good cause.
- Find a POSSESSION a day that you can give away/donate.
- DEDICATE an evening to work in soup kitchen or CJM.
- JOURNAL or READ 4 gospels. 28/24/16/21=89 chapters. 2 per day.
The ashes remind me of my weakness and humanity. The sackcloth is a symbol to remind me that living on my own terms is rough and difficult. My confession marks my need to repent and turn to God. My identification with Jesus by taking the sign of His Cross is a symbol of my RETURN to my first love for Jesus.