The penitential season of Lent begins today. This is Ash Wednesday! I know you know that and are prepared to begin this important time in your life. Today many of us will receive the imposition of the cross on our foreheads as a reminder of our temporal time on this earth. From dust we came and to dust we will return. Our sins are very real, serious and deadening.
For the next six weeks we will focus intently on the cross and its necessity as a result of our sinfulness. The price for our sin is huge and only Jesus Christ could or would pay that price. With divine love Jesus willingly accepts the suffering of the cross for us.
We need Lent! We need the quiet and prayerful time of repentance and meditation. So do the people we are called to serve. All of our people may not take advantage of the special worship times we will offer, but those who do are blessed with these special times. While it seems odd to say, “I love the Lenten Season!” we can say, “I appreciate and need this season.” That has been true for me for as long as I can remember. As a little boy I recall those Wednesday evening services as a special and different worship time than Sunday morning. As a Pastor I looked forward to preparing a slightly different kind of sermon – more of a meditation. The hymnody for the season is beautiful and the additional time for prayer is important for us all.
Yes, it is a more solemn time of the year, but as we receive the ashes for the cross on our foreheads we cannot help but rejoice in knowing that the cross was also marked on our heads and hearts with water when we were baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is so good to read and remember the words of Romans six. In baptism we are brought into God’s family, showered with His grace and granted faith and forgiveness as we are connected with the suffering and death of our Savior and rise to the newness of life! What a joyfully serious gift! God bless your Lenten season!