I (kate) wrote this weeks ago & somehow forgot to post it. Being Easter tomorrow I thought it might be a good time to share. I've never been to an Ash Wednesday service. Well at least not to my recollection. Until this past Wednesday. If I'm being one hundred percent honest I didn't even know what it was. When the pastor of the church I've been attending began speaking about the Ash Wednesday service I had to lean over to a friend and ask what it was.
Ah-ha. The beginning of Lent. Bingo. Again, another topic that I am somewhat unaware of. The first time I really remember hearing about Lent was in college. Growing up in a evangelical-Christian home, that was just something that wasn't focused on. So in college I began hearing people discuss what they were giving up for Lent....the most popular being chocolate or sugar...and I'd watch people get quasi-miserable for the next 40 days as they gave something up.
So, when my pastor began talking about the season of Lent and what it means, I finally started to understand. He did a great job explaining the process of preparing yourself for Easter. That the 40 days were a time to be in constant contemplation about the joyous celebration of Easter. But he presented a new idea that I hadn't heard of...instead of taking something away from your life for 40 days...why not add something to your life for 40 days. He talked about a friend of his who read the same passage in the Bible for 40 days. He spoke of another friend who asked himself the same 3 questions every day and wrote the answers down in a journal. It's all about creating space in your life during this time. Either by taking something away or adding something...either way you take time to create space in your life.
I am by no means a theologian so please understand that I'm just sharing thoughts about an experience that really made me think-I am not trying to convert you or shame you if you don't participate in these practices. (Heck--I didn't even know what Ash Wednesday was until a few days ago so yeah.) As I sat in church with ash on my forehead I thought about what I could do for 40 days that would be my first journey into Lent. So, I decided to add something to my life for 40 days. I am not going to share what it is because I like to keep some things in my life just for me. But I'm excited that I've opened myself up to this experience.
I'd love to hear your experiences with Lent...did you grow up participating in this tradition?