Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday - The seventh Wednesday before Easter and the first day of Lent, on which many Christians receive a mark of ashes on the forehead as a token of penitence and mortality. (thank you answers.com)

I'm Southern Baptist. Notice how I said that without hanging my head in shame? I'm proud of my beliefs and of my denomination. I don't agree with everything that comes from the SBC, but the basic doctrine works just fine for me. First, the Bible is the inspired word of God. Period. Jesus died for our sins, rose again on the 3rd day, and in order for us to have eternal life in heaven, we physically ask Him to be our Savior, live in our hearts, and forgive us of our sins. (John 3:16, Eph 2:8, Acts 4:12, Romans 6:23) We, in turn, strive to live as He did. We fail, at times (ok a lot of the time), but thanks to the saving grace of Jesus, our sins our forgiven. I can feel His presence in me, even when I fail Him. It's what gets me out of bed everyday. That's the cliff notes version...if you want more information, I'd be happy to share more with you!

Moving on...

I had a wonderful youth minister in high school. Her name was Debbie. In the 90's, it was pretty controversial to have a female staff member at a Baptist church. Thank the Lord we rose above it because she taught me things I still hold close. She was raised Catholic and the spring of my senior year, she took us to the local Catholic church for Ash Wednesday services. The priest was kind enough to let us sit and observe this sacred service. We did not take communion, but we did line up to have the mark of the cross placed on our foreheads. It was a beautiful ceremony and I remember it to this day. She also took us to the Jewish synagogue to witness a Passover service. Equally beautiful, deep rooted in tradition.

It was at that time that I started practicing Lent. I think it is a really lovely way to remind myself of the sacrifice Christ made on the cross. I know that as Christians, we focus on the resurrection because that's where our faith lies. But as Mel Gibson reminded us, the road the resurrection was not easy. It's the greatest sacrifice ever made.

Today is the first day of Lent. I'm giving up something that will be difficult but not impossible. It's a personal decision. Every time I reach for this "thing" and turn it down, it's a sacrifice. Not at all like the sacrifice Jesus made for me, in fact, it's rather silly in comparison. But at least in my busy, hectic world, I can be reminded of my faith many times throughout the day.

2 comments:

Bezner said...

Fantastic post with some great thoughts behind it. Thanks, Amy.

andersontheology.com said...

Interesting! I had 3 good friends make blog posts today about Lent. And only one of them is actually Catholic!