Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Ash Wednesday 2014

“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may - by your good works which they observe - glorify God in the day of visitation.”  1 Peter 1:11-12

Today is Ash Wednesday which leads us into the season of Lent.  Many devout Christians question the necessity of Lent and its penitential practices of fasting and repentance because we are, after all, Easter people; that there is no need to overwhelm ourselves with “works” that are not necessary.  I get that, and I freely admit there are times when I question such practices myself.  If this is where we truly are, then we are compelled to question why we would celebrate Christmas since that time has also passed.  Why do we celebrate the Resurrection of Messiah since this time, too, has passed?

I would suggest that if we question the many means of grace and mercy, such as prayer and fasting, that call us to evaluate our lives as “sojourners and pilgrims”, then it is likely we fall outside the definition of “sojourners and pilgrims” and need these practices in our lives all the more.  This, dear friends, is precisely why Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and seeks to call us away from matters of the flesh and reconnect to our Lord in a meaningful way; for a benign, inactive “relationship” is no relationship at all.  Think of it this way: what good is a prayer life if our prayers reveal something we have no intentions of responding to?  That our prayers are only our wish lists we expect the Lord to hear even though we offer no time to hear Him?

I encourage all to find the necessity of visiting this season with an open heart and honest mind; for if such practices are seen as “burdens” unnecessary for “saved” Christians, there may indeed already be something seriously amiss in our spiritual lives.  Lent is a gift, perhaps the greatest of gifts, because it calls us to gather once again as “sojourners and pilgrims” by showing us exactly where we are headed – to the Resurrection and beyond! 



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