Ashes, Ashes

“Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God. And here’s why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot, the most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe.” Joel 2:13 [The Message]

I recently wrote a Lenten reflection for the Spring 2011 issue of the quarterly Spoke Folk newsletter, Family Time [download]. In that reflection, a similar version of which also appeared in our church’s March newsletter, I spent some time talking about how much I absolutely love the season of Lent. Seriously, it takes a real church nerd to get hyped up about Lent, doesn’t it?

But for real. I love the season of Lent, which means that today, Ash Wednesday, may perhaps be one of my favorite days of the liturgical church year.

Today marks the beginning of a journey. And I know that, for me personally, this year’s Lenten journey is going to have some serious significance to it. I’m really excited to see what God has in store.

There have been a lot of thoughts bouncing around the cyber world today on Lent and Ash Wednesday [a couple good posts: here, and here], but one of my favorites so far was this article from Relevant Magazine. The author just has some really good thoughts on Lent, and on reclaiming “religion” in a world that has become turned off by our “churchy” lingo. Check this out:

The word “religion” comes from the Latin religare, which means “to tie fast” or “to bind to.” Bad religion is about binding yourself to actions that you think earn you favor from God. Good religion is about binding or tying yourself to practices because you have experienced God’s favor. It is a way for us to love God back, as well as a way for us to move deeper into His grace.

I don’t know about you, but I can hold onto “religion” that moves me deeper into the grace of God. I can hold onto a “religion” that moves beyond attempts to earn God’s favor in an effort to just bask in the favor He freely gives.

That, my friends, is why I love Lent. It’s an opportunity to be really intentional about moving deeper into the grace of God. It’s not all about what you’re going to give up (and don’t get me started ranting about giving up social media, or chocolate, or soda)–it’s about what you are going to be about that will push you deeper into the richness of God’s grace and mercy.

So, what of it?

What’s your favorite part of Lent?

What’s your favorite liturgical season or day?

What pushes you deeper into the richness of God’s grace?

 

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