I decided this morning that I wanted to go to an Ash Wednesday service. I’ve never done this before. Shoot! I’m a Baptist girl turned Church of Christ girl, so I’ve never done anything Lent-related before But more and more, I like the idea of an extended period of time reflecting on and gaining more anticipation for Easter.
Our family has a “Family Activities for Lent” jar that our church put together for families this year. At dinner tonight, we pulled out our first activity and talked about resurrection, what it means, and how to spell it. 🙂
And then tonight, I went to my first Ash Wednesday service at a nearby Catholic church.
I was so proud of myself for blending in and not looking like a fool through most of the service until it got to a point where people started holding hands and raising their hands up. The teenage girl next to me held up her hands and started looking at me. I made a funny face showing that I was clueless, and she grabbed my hand to help me out. Then when it was communion time, I went forward like everyone else. I kept looking around trying to figure out what I was supposed to do, but I didn’t have enough time. So when it was my turn, the guy at the altar stood there very still just looking at me until I finally said “I don’t know what I’m doing!” To which he basically stuffed the cracker in my mouth and sent me on my way. I then spent the next 5 minutes giggling to myself. 🙂
The first thing that struck me during the service was the simplicity of the songs, and I tried focusing on the words.
At one point, one of the priests did a short talk about the importance of Lent. He asked what the goal of Lent was. He said a question to ask yourself is, “Where is your God?” We can find God in our neighbors and in ourselves. We are Ambassadors for Christ and can ask ourselves if we have hidden him from our lives or if he is living within us and if we can see evidence of him. So, he said the goal of Lent is not to achieve your goal of abstaining from something for 40 days. To check that off your list.
No, the goal of Lent is to become more like Christ. To work toward becoming a new person in Christ.
The priest said that ashes that are received on Ash Wednesday are like our sins…worthless. Our sins ruin what was and what is beautiful.
But we continuously strive to find new life in Christ and to become like him.
I am looking forward to this journey leading up to Easter. Through these 40 days, I will not be giving up anything. My goal is to add some act of generosity each day. I’m not yet sure what this will look like, but big or small, I want to do something generous everyday.
And I pray that through these 40 days, I will grow a little closer to becoming more like Christ.