G’day y’all… hope you are doing well. Tonight we have the Ash Wednesday service at church. This marks the beginning of Lent and a time where Christians remember Jesus’ time in the wilderness. Sometimes I feel like people that go and get the ashes placed on their foreheads at the beginning of the day walk around with them as a sort of look at me gesture as if everyone should know that they’re awesome for participating in the service when half the time I don’t even know if those people fully know what it means.
Not everyone participates in Lent. Some years I’ve been diligent about giving something up and other years I haven’t really thought about it. I was raised Methodist and we haven’t always made a big deal out of fasting during the 40 days but at Beach UMC we’re going to make it a point to fast on Monday’s from sun-up to sun-down and to really dig deeper into our faith.
Tonight will begin my journey to let go of the anger I’ve been carrying around. I think that working on my emotions is much harder than just giving up soft drinks or candy. I’m going to really work on my road rage and my impatience and I’m going to try and grow in my faith by being more diligent in my bible study.
This year the UMC is proposing that we give up alcohol. I think that is a great idea, especially for people who have lives that revolve around the socialization of alcohol and/or those who use alcohol as a coping mechanism. Some of my friends have even decided to give up Facebook or applications within Facebook such as Farm-ville.
Here is what the Methodist Church has to say about Ash Wednesday:
“While many think of actions such as the imposition of ashes, signing with the cross, foot-washing, and the use of incense as something that only Roman Catholics or high church Episcopalians do, there has been a move among Protestant churches, including United Methodists to recover these more multi-sensory ways of worship. This is in keeping with a growing recognition that people have multiple ways of learning and praying. Worship that is oriented to the intellect or to the emotions, both interior, leaves out those who engage in prayer through vision, smell, touch, movement, etc. We are increasingly aware that people are formed in faith when practices become embedded in memory, nerves, muscles and bone through sensory engagement.” Center for Worship Resourcing, The General Board of Discipleship.
So what about y’all? What are your plans for Lent? Do you participate? Do you find that giving something up helps to draw you closer in your relationship with God or do you think it even really matters?