Today I want to talk about the topic of Ash Wednesday and Lent.
Ash Wednesday is tomorrow and many of you that may have been raised Catholic or are still Catholic know what Ash Wednesday signifies, but those of you who don't may have just seen people walking around with a black mark on their foreheads and maybe you thought they just got messy while making their fire that morning.
That's not what the ash on their foreheads is about.
Before I get into a bit of history on the actual meaning of Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent I would like to get personal for a minute.
I would like to share my story, on why I celebrated the season of Lent as a child, and why at one point I didn't, and then now why I do again.
When I was younger I was raised as a Catholic, and not just your everyday average Catholic my parents both were very spiritual people. My dad was in the seminary intending to become a Priest and My Mom was a teenager who lived in a Convent for a time. Clearly, that didn't work out because otherwise I most assuredly would NOT be here. However, even though they were both Convent/Seminary drop outs they still had a very strong faith, and ever since I could remember we were having bible study or Catechism lessons in our living room, and going to church faithfully on Sundays. We celebrated Ash Wednesday and Lent every year and this is what I remember as a child about those days.
One- Ash Wednesday was not my favorite because not only did I get this black stuff on my forehead that messed up my whole look, but I also had to give something up for 6 weeks.
Two- I didn't ever really understand the WHY, behind these occasions so they meant nothing to me.
And C. -They were in my mind, almost like a punishment for being Catholic that I never enjoyed and certainly had no intention of carrying on once I was old enough to stop the madness.
The reason I think these are my memories as a child of this season is because I believe that
somewhere along the way for my mom and dad these acts became just that, ACTS. I'm sure if you were to ask them today they would say that they both were not doing these out of love and devotion to Christ, but out of duty. They just did what they had always done without really asking why? It's important that we never forget the WHY behind the WHAT.
Why is a powerful word.
It was at this point that my sister Jenny worked with a woman who sought out her faith so differently, and my Uncle Gene introduced both of my parents to a new way of pursuing their faith in Christ. It was like God was working on their hearts all along for this moment in time, and the rest is my family of origins spiritual history so to speak. Needless to say, when they stopped marking my forehead I was beyond glad to end that silly tradition and I never looked back until....
About almost 4 years ago now I attended a church service that explained some things about these days that I never understood before.
but for the sake of what I'm trying to say here I'm just going to say that somewhere along the way in my faith journey I realized that it isn't the outside that matters so much to God, but rather what's going on in your inners that HE cares about. And, it's not just once a year that we should take inventory of our faith walk but on a daily basis.
What I'm saying is that, I know now
to walk around in "sackcloth and ashes" and give sugar up for 6 weeks is not what God really wants from me. But, what does he require of me then?
And that brings me back to that powerful church service 4 years ago where I realized in many ways I had thrown the baby Ash Wednesday out with the Bath Water Lent.
Hee hee hee... I make myself laugh.
These acts in and of themselves are not bad, but rather the motive behind them.
If my motive is to be seen as a great spiritual person who can give up Coffee so that the world can stand in awe of me, then umm... I might need a check up from the neck up, or down really... cause my heart is what would really need a transplant.
But IF however I feel fasting from Coffee will help me realize my great need, desperate need, for God to give me strength and not that dirty drug Caffeine then I think I'm tracking what God is laying down.
We are told as Christ followers that our numero uno call or command is to Love God above all else.
Which brings me to the word Idols.
That word has become a household acceptable name now with American Idol, but make no mistake that is a NAS- TAY word!!
We can have all kinds of idols in our lives and they don't come in the form or the fashion of statues anymore. They come in Wine Bottles, Celebrities, T.V. shows and dare I say even in the form of Blogland. But oh beloved reader, they are not to be trifled with.
They come to rob, kill, and destroy our original design and purpose here.
And I believe the only way we can even realize they are there is to get on our knees and ask God to reveal them to us.
I now look forward to this time of year because I walk into it with Freedom.
Freedom to know that even if I say I am giving up sugar for 6 weeks and I goof up and have a donut one day, God doesn't really care.
He doesn't require sacrifice and fasting anymore.
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
This will be the fourth year of celebrating Lent with this new understanding.
Every year I ask God what may have crept into my life and taken the place that only HE should have.
And every year HE has been faithful to reveal to me something that would be good to give up for a while.
Beloved reader this space here, and all of my social medias are going to be quiet for the next 6 weeks while I soak in and soak up only HIM.
I will still be answering emails, and your comments here through email, but you won't find me living here or on Instagram,Twitter, or Facebook.
For the next 6 weeks
I'm going to take this time to reflect, repent, and renew what it is God has called me to.
I will miss you, and I sure hope you are still here when I return.
I certainly gave you enough to read in this here Book of a post.