Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ash Thursday!

Ok, ok, I know... but I got busy yesterday, and so you're getting the Ash Wednesday post today. As many of you are aware, Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent There are a lot of really interesting traditions and disciplines associated with Lent, from Bible study, to fasting, to prayer, to giving something up for the duration. Wikipedia has a pretty decent explanation of fasting and abstinence as it relates to Lent, so I won't go into oodles of detail here. We remember that Jesus went out into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days. (Just as Jesus remembered Israel wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.) We remember the events leading up to the suffering death (and later Resurrection) of Jesus.

The ironic thing is that the 40 days of Lent actually don't count Sundays... the days when most of us are most likely to be thinking about Lent. You see, we worship on Sunday because that's the day Jesus was raised from the dead. So Sundays are always celebrations of the Resurrection. And Lent is preparation for the Resurrection... it points to it, in a way, but doesn't get to celebrate it. So Lent doesn't include Sundays.

Anyway, that's why I like to encourage people to take on a Lenten discipline. For exaple, I myself have given up caffeine for Lent. Every time I crave a soda, desire a caffeinated pick-me-up, or yawn in the middle of the day, I am reminded that it is Lent. Now, if you aren't addicted to caffein, giving it up means nothing. Mary Kate Olsen should not be fasting. (In fact, if you're thinking of fasting, speak to your doctor and find out how to go about it right. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Harford has a concise definition of what they mean by fasting.) The point is to do what will work for you, but to do something!

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

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