Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.

I took this photo the last night I spent in the desert. Just as the sun was slipping over the horizon, I captured the evening glow. I wonder if Jesus saw something like this during His 40 days in the wilderness as he denied Himself and prepared Himself for His ministry.

Today starts the season of lent. Today people from all over the world will gather together to be reminded to turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel as ashes are placed on their foreheads. As the ashes go on, it gives them an opportunity to reflect on the way Jesus denied himself for 40 days in the wilderness.

I woke up this morning and I'm still unsure about specifics that I will be yielding for the lenten season. This is the conclusion I've come to so far. I want to lead a simpler life. This will involve periods of fasting and denial. It will also involve times of engagement through prayer and study.

Maybe it will mean less eating out. Maybe it will mean less time working online. Maybe it will mean less travel, or more travel via bike or public transit. Christians around the world have used lent as a time of examination, of denial, and of renewing their commitment to be like Jesus. In a couple of hours I am going to attend an Ash Wednesday service and during that time I am praying that God will give me clarity in my commitments.

As lent begins, whether you come from a tradition that celebrates lent or not, I encourage you to take time to examine your life. Let the light of Christ shine into your heart, and reveal area's where you desire to move toward being more like Jesus in word and thought and deed.

In our world, there are two things that are very true. Very few take the time to examine their lives period, and even fewer look for opportunities to practice self-denial in a culture that prides itself on being self-indulgent.

I invite you to journey into the desert with Jesus and to think about the renewal that He offers you every moment of every day. WIll you begin this season of denial and expectation and allow Christ to meet you in your wilderness as you journey to the grandest celebration in history, the resurrection of the Son of God?

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