Okay, it’s confession time.
As a blogger, I’m supposed to be ahead of the game. I’ve read a bajillion articles and listened to podcasts and printed out checklists about how to have content written, proofread, and scheduled way ahead of time.
Sometimes I actually manage to get it done.
But this week has not been one of those times.
Can I just tell y’all? Blogging can be a full-time job. It is a full-time job for lots of people.
I already have a job, though. And a house that I clean myself (well, sometimes). And four kids. (Seriously, four kids. What was I thinking?!?)
Translation? Sometimes the blog doesn’t get done. It has to be pushed to the back burner so I can survive.
And that’s a whole bunch of words just for me to tell you “Sorry I didn’t post on Monday.”
You probably didn’t even notice.
The Season of Lent
Anyhoo, I’m back today.
Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent.
I didn’t grow up knowing anything about Lent, let alone observing it. One year when I was in my twenties, after hearing how you’re supposed to “give up something” for Lent, I decided to do a sugar fast. Only to end up hating myself when I went to my grandmother’s house and she had fresh baked raisin bars. . . and I just had to eat about 20 of those babies.
Lent didn’t become a serious thing to me until two years ago, when I joined a church that actually observes Lent.
Tonight we will participate in our congregation’s Ash Wednesday service. It always makes me cry. The ministers will rub the sign of the cross on our foreheads with ashes. We will be reminded of our human frailty, of the brevity of earthly life. We will be asked to examine ourselves, to search our hearts, to join with our beautiful Savior over the next 40 days in His journey toward the cross.
It is a somber time in the church calendar.
But as we travel the dusty road of sorrow, suffering, and sacrifice, we are reminded that resurrection is coming.
And how we need that reminder.
Don’t Forget to Remember
I’ve been reading a book called The Green Ember with my (almost) 9-year old. Every night before bed we finish a chapter (or maybe two) and he is never ready to quit. This morning he asked if we could read right after school instead, so we would have more time. I responded, “Of course. Just make sure to remind me!”
Because I know myself. I’ll get busy or distracted and I’ll forget.
He said, “Why don’t you write yourself a note!”
And it got me to thinking how desperately we need reminders in our spiritual life.
- God set the rainbow in the sky as a sign. . . that we would see it and remember His faithfulness.
- The people of Israel, upon entering the Promised Land, set up twelve river stones as memorials — reminders of where and how God had led them. Joshua told the people that one day their children would ask what the stones were for, and they were to remind them of how they crossed over the Jordan on dry ground. The stones would help them remember.
- Every time we take communion, we “do this in remembrance” of Jesus and His sacrifice. We eat the bread and drink the wine and remember: His body, broken; His blood, shed.
How to Observe Lent.
To me, this is what Lent is all about. It is about setting up reminders, in order to never forget. We walk the lonely path of sacrifice, so we can remember the ultimate sacrifice. We mark our foreheads with ashes, so we will remember how helpless and alone we truly are without God’s help.
As Ruth Haley Barton says, the ashes
are a graphic reminder of our sinfulness, an outward sign of inward repentance and mourning as we become aware of our sin. This. . .is good for us because we live in so much denial. With as much openness as we can muster, we invite God to search us and know us and (eventually) lead us into resurrection life.”
On Ash Wednesday and throughout Lent, we remember.
- We remember who we are and who God is.
- We remember the helplessness of the state we’re in.
- We remember what God has done. How He has shown Himself time and again to be faithful.
- We remember His goodness.
- We remember His lovingkindness and mercy toward us while we were yet sinners.
- We remember His incarnation, His ministry on earth, His healing, His road of suffering all the way to the cross.
- And on the culmination of the Lenten season, we remember His resurrection. His victory over sin and death. A victory in which we as believers can share.
What steps will you take during this Lenten season to help you remember? Are you “giving up” something for Lent this year, or perhaps opting to take on a new spiritual discipline?
Tell me about your plans for the next 40 days in the comment section below. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!
I’m linking up with Faith Barista today for #OneWordCoffee #OneWordLent. Click on the image to see what other bloggers are sharing today!