by Randy Reese
Reflections on Ash Wednesday morning:
Life is constantly changing and always on the move. Yesterday was what is known as “Fat Tuesday” and today (Wednesday morning) we in the Community of Faith in Jesus Christ call the day “Ash Wednesday.” Ash Wednesday begins a forty day journey (not including Sundays) that leads us to Maundy Thursday. The intent of these forty days is for us, as disciples of Christ Jesus, to take some time, claim some time, make some time to think about God and the things of God in preparation for the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.
Ash Wednesday was celebrated here at Calvary by some singing, a reading of the Word, a reflective homily and then coming, with a willing heart to say:
“God, you are ever so important to me. I want to clear my heart, mind, and soul of anything and everything that might stand between us. I want to ask for forgiveness of any sin I’ve committed against You and against someone else. Show Yourself to me and show “myself” to me.”
This desire found expression in the imposition of ashes (ashes from last year’s palm branches mixed oil placed on foreheads in the sign of the cross) and the sharing of Holy Communion.
Some practice these forty days of Lent by fasting. Their fasts include abstaining from certain foods for one or many days, fasting once a week with a full (nothing but water) or a partial fast (diabetics have to adjust differently in fasting for example). Others find abstaining from something else for forty days as a means of expression for them (electronics, facebook, coffee, and the list goes on and on). The key is to exchange the time and desire for the thing given up and instead, spend it with God. God knows our need - to spend time in His presence. In the words of last Sunday’s scripture text - “to be still and know that I AM God.”
From Pope Francis, I have found his thoughts on Lenten fasting just amazing:
Fast from hurting words and say kind words
Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude
Fast from anger and be filled with patience
Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope
Fast from worries and have trust in God
Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity
Fast from pressures and fill your hearts with joy
Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others
Fast from grudges and be reconciled
Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.
Embrace Lent. Give God some extra time and space.
“Be still, and know that He is God”