Today marks the first day of the Season of Lent, so I thought I'd do somewhat of a Lenten series. I haven't been feeling up to going to church in longer than I care to think about, and I'm behind on listening to them online; so I think this will help me to stay focused on the true reason for the Season of Lent.
Ash Wednesday is a somber day of reflection on what needs to change in our lives, in order to be fully Christian. The ashes are "a sign of humility before God, a symbol of mourning and sorrow at the death that sin brings to the world... [which] prefigures the mourning at the death of Jesus, but also places the worshiper in a position to realize the consequences of sin" (The Season of Lent). We are reminded that we are all sinners and need to repent. The attitude of penitence is reflected in the Lord's prayer: "And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us" (Luke 11:4, KJV).
Ashes are applied to each person's forehead in the sign of the cross, as the words, "Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return" (Genesis 3:19) or "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel" (Mark 1:15) are spoken. This symbolizes our mortality and our need for ongoing repentance, and reminds us of the day when we will stand before God and be judged. It represents the follower of Christ entering into a season of examination and abstinence, in order to deepen our relationship with the Lord.
I know that there are a lot of things that I need to do this Lenten Season, in order to better align myself with God. I pray that He guide me, and help give me the strength and courage to go on this journey.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10)