Tonight we gathered for an Ash Wednesday Service. Since the idea of ashes are a new experience to many Evangelicals, I was asked several times "Why observe Ash Wednesday?"
I had to think about it as I have never been part of or led an Ash Wednesday Service. The word "Pause" came to me. Today is the first day of Lent and making the intentional decision to make space in our lives to consider how we will walk through the next 40 days is really important.
The reason? We can't fully appreciate the resurrection without considering the Cross.
This is the reason for Lent (which means "long" as the days of Spring grow longer). The 40 days leading up to Easter, which by the way, don't include Sundays because Sundays are a celebration day, are time for us to prepare for how we will walk the road with Jesus.
But, this is the most important part! Jesus invites us on the journey to the cross with him. We were created because God wanted relationship. So, our greatest gift to Jesus would be to make an intentional decision to take the journey to the cross with him. Think about it. When all his disciples ran away in the Garden when he was arrested, and then he heard Peter denying him to the servants in the courtyard, how much would it mean to him for us to say, "I will walk the road with you."
The ashes are a sign. They are a visual reminder that we have committed ourselves to journey with the One who loves us, the One who would have died on the cross, even if it was only us.
It's not too late for you to Pause to consider what your response will be. Perhaps you will decide to abstain from a certain food item or activity. Perhaps it is to engage in a relational, meditational way one of the Gospels. Perhaps it is a decision to make time for the lonely, to speak to people in lines, to purposely love people.
I can't wait for this journey. Jesus is waiting for you to come too; will you accept the invitation?