by Pastor Linda Holbrook
Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent. This year Ash Wednesday is March 2nd. Ash Wednesday emphasizes confronting our own mortality and confessing our sin before God within the community of faith.
Lent is a period of reflection and penance. Lent lasts 40 days excluding the Sundays. Many people decide to “give up” something to remind them of the sacrifice of Jesus and the 40 days in the wilderness. Some people have said “I will give up brussels sprouts because I don’t like brussels sprouts anyway.” If you decide to give something up, make it something you like. The point is to give up something you like so that you feel the sacrifice. Some people give up a favorite soft drink or desserts. Some people give up a favorite TV show or playing video games.
Other people decide to add something new. Some people decide to read a book of the Bible during Lent, attend a study at the church or spend a specified time in prayer. Some people journal or take up walking each day.
I invite you to decide to either give something up or add something, and which ever you do, do it with intention and commitment.
At this evening’s service we shared in the practice of imposition of ashes. Ashes are a sign of our mortality and repentance. In the Bible, sprinkling oneself with ashes was traditionally a sign of one’s sorrow for the death of Christ. The Imposition of Ashes is a powerful nonverbal and experiential way of participating in the call to repentance and reconciliation.
Invitation to observe a Lenten Discipline
Sisters and brothers in Christ:
Every year at Easter we celebrate with joy our redemption and renewal through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The season of Lent is a time to prepare for this celebration and to make room in our lives for the Spirit of God to renew us in this mystery.
We begin this holy season by acknowledging our need for repentance and our need for the love and forgiveness shown to us in Jesus Christ.
I invite you, therefore, in the name of Christ, to observe a Holy Lent,
by self-examination and penitence,
by prayer and fasting,
by practicing works of love,
and by reading and reflecting on God’s Holy Word.
Let us begin our Lenten journey by together confessing our sins and seeking the forgiveness and new life that is promised to us in Christ Jesus.
Credits and copyrights
- “Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days” words by Claudia F. Hernaman, music USA folk melody arr. by Annabel Morris Buchanan, harm by. Charles H Webb. Music © 1989 The United Methodist Publishing House (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.). CCLI song #2312509, CCLI License #2718708.
- “Dust and Ashes” words by Brian Wren, music by David Haas. © 1989 Hope Publishing Company. CCLI song #263554, CCLI License #2718708.
- “Give Me a Clean Heart” words and music by Margaret P. Douroux. © 1970 Douroux, Margaret Pleasant (Admin. by Rev. Earl A. Pleasant Publishing). CCLI song #314764, CCLI License #2718708.
- All other text on this page © The United Methodist Church of Morgan Hill.