Ash Wednesday ~ March 6
“. . . rend your hearts and not your garments.” ~ Joel 2:13
This week there will be two sets of readings. This post includes the readings for Ash Wednesday. On Thursday, the readings for the first Saturday of Lent will be posted.
Remember, Lent is not about fasting. Lent is about God. Fasting helps us focus on God by recognizing the hold that certain things in our lives have on us. Whether it’s food, or media, or any number of activities. The fast shows us that we aren’t always in control of ourselves. In fact, we aren’t always in control of our wants or desires. We don’t always control what we want or what we focus on, or even what we love. A Lenten fast can help us overcome see that and, through God’s grace, give us new loves.
Lent is not only a good time to fast but it is also a good time to do something different. That ‘something different’ could be serving. Serving the church, serving at your kid’s school, serving someone who doesn’t expect to be served by you, even, and maybe especially, serving those you live with.
That ‘something different’ could be praying differently. Maybe you pray once a week when you come to church. Maybe you pray multiple times, every day. Try a new rhythm of prayer. Here are some ideas:
Pray morning prayer with other Wheatlanders on Tues, Wed, and Fri mornings. 6:45 at the Ladder. Yes, this is an advertisement.
Pray the Lord’s Prayer multiple times during the day. Before your feet hit the floor in the morning. Before you eat your first meal, or your second, or third, or fourth. As you go to bed at night, remember this foundational prayer of our shared Christian life.
Try the “Prayer of Examen” at the end of your day. Find a place to sit still, be calm and quiet, and then, fully aware of God’s presence, go over the events of the day with the Lord. Find that thing which made you anxious and that thing that made you grateful. Offer them both to God.
Try a “breath prayer”. Find a passage of Scripture that is special to you or even a Psalm and commit it to memory by praying it as you breathe. Keep it short and makes sure it is special to you. If you need help finding one, you could try the traditional ‘Jesus Prayer’, prayed by millions over the years, which is: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me . . .
With all this talk of prayer, below is another one. This is the collect for Ash Wednesday. Pay special attention to that one line, ‘you hate nothing you have made’. This little line gives me a lot of comfort. God is for us. And a somber service like Ash Wednesday only reinforces that fact. God made us from dust, to dust we shall return, but, through the hope of Christ’s resurrection we shall rise.
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.