Wednesday, March 5, 2014

So what the heck is Ash Wednesday!?

So... What is it!?  

- "Not positive but I know you're supposed to eat fish on Fridays"

- "It's a time where you pray and fast all day for over a month"

- "Seems like an out of date ritual for Catholics"

- "A specific time to focus on what's most important to you"

- "Is that the day after Mardi-Gras starts!?"

Ask five people and you might very well get five different responses on 'What is Ash Wednesday'.  Though many folks have differing opinions and experiences in regards to this day most view (religious or not) as something special.  I thought, since it only happens once a year and it just so happens it's my day to post (Jweff Wednesdays), I'd take today to break it down and even give some fun ideas for families!!  I also realize that most in our (New Beginnings) denomination (Southern Baptist) just have no clue about just how significant this time can be to any follow of Christ.

Ash Wednesday (according to Wikipedia):
"Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Western Christian calendar, directly following Shrove Tuesday... According to the gospels, Jesus Christ spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this 40-day liturgical period of prayer and fasting or abstinence... Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes (formally called The Imposition of Ashes) on the foreheads of adherents as a celebration and reminder of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered from the burning of the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday."

*In short... Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a 40-day fast, where we give up something to focus on the upcoming resurrection celebration (Easter)!

As a youthworker over the past ten years one of the most important jobs I felt I had was to teach students "the Why" we believe what we believe.  Ash Wednesday has some cool history to it from burning the palm leaves from palm sunday to create ash to an intentional time of fasting, just like Jesus! Why wouldn't all followers take this season (40 Days) spending a little more intentional time with our Savior.  

Last night during dinner my kids and I (Court had a "girls night" whatever that means :)) were able to discuss "Fat Tuesday" and that the more important thing was Ash Wednesday starting today.  I asked if there was anything they felt they could and would like to give up to be closer to God.  To my surprise each thought very intentionally and two of them came up with some incredible sacrifices.  Jackson said to "not be lazy... this month I will get up off the couch and do some burpees with you" (Yeah, I've been FINALLY working out again).  Creighton said she would like to give up her dolls.  Though I will probably talk her into something else I was touched by her thoughfulness that "I talk to them more than God."  And finally the cherry on top, Charleigh said "I wodt thenk abot Mi--- Mouse." Me: "YOU'RE NOT GOING TO THINK ABOUT MICKEY MOUSE!?" (Knowing this would be a HUGE deal).  Charleigh: "No Dad... Not thenk abot MiNNIE Mouse."  So there you go...  If you're wondering about mine, I'm committing to being spiritually AND physically healthy (consistent reading, prayer, exercise and eating right, I'm sure there will be more to come on this).  

How about you?  What will you and  your family be doing this holy season!?

4 Questions to Ask Yourself
 as you get started (taken from Rachel Evens)
  1. When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning, how will I be different?

  2. Is there a habit or sin in my life that repeatedly gets in the way of loving God with my whole heart or loving my neighbor as myself? How do I address that habit over the next 40 days?

  3. Is there anyone in my life from whom I need to ask forgiveness or pursue reconciliation?
  4. Begin my Lenten fast with asking God what He wants me to "pick up" from Him, and that will help me discern what I should "put down" for Him
Some practical ideas for you and/or your family:

  • Here's some 'Adding' ideas: 
    • Tutoring a child at the school
    • Giving food to a shelter
    • Praying 3-5 specific times each day
    • Reading through one or two gospels 
    • Walking by yourself or with your family

May we take the time necessary to put You at the front of our minds and lives... May we develop healthy habits that glorify Your Name... May Your Spirit speak to us today on exactly what You would want us to do... May we lead our families well as You lead us... May we make more of You and less of us!!

The Bergs
**Follow Jeff (Family Pastor of High School), also known as "surgeberg" on: FacebookTwitter & Instagram

No comments:

Post a Comment