Reflections from Pastor Jennifer
The Holy Spirit fell upon those in the upper room who were unified with the purpose of getting all that Jesus had promised. The promise was to them, their children, and as many as the Lord would call - that's us. The Lord is calling us! As we choose to draw near, He promises to draw near. Let's become unified in our desire to see what God will do!
This year, February 22 is Ash Wednesday
Not all churches have a day or service dedicated to Ash Wednesday, but many denominations do recognize this day on the holy calendar of events for that year and prayer is an important part of the day. Ash Wednesday kicks off the start to Lent season, right after Shrove Tuesday. During this time of reflection, Christians will often fast and pray. This fasting might look like giving up meat, sweets, or technology. Others imitate Jesus during his 40 days in the desert and refrain from eating at all. An Ash Wednesday prayer is a beautiful start to the Lent season of reflection.
The somber Lent season not only reminds us of Jesus’ encounter with the devil in the desert and how Jesus resisted temptation (Matthew 4) but it leads up to Holy Week and the events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. We wait in anticipation for both. Usually, in addition to receiving an ash cross on our forehead, services also have an Ash Wednesday prayer. Most often Ash Wednesday prayers remind us that we are but dust, and to dust, we will return (Genesis 3:19). This holiday helps us to remember that we cannot earn our own salvation, but that God allows us to come into a relationship with him after he dies on the cross and resurrects. Let’s explore what this holiday means and how we can pray for a renewing of the mind during the Lent season.
Example of Ash Wednesday prayer: "Heavenly Father, during this time of reflection I remember how you lived the life I ought to have lived. You showed us how to resist temptation during your time in the desert, and through the life you led here on earth. As this Lent season begins, remind me that I am but dust. I can do nothing without you. Help me to see the world through the eyes of those in the first Lent season, who awaited a Savior and awaited new life through you. Thank you for your sacrifice on the cross, and as I refrain from [fill in the blank, for what you choose to give up for Lent] help me to use that time I would spend on [fill in the blank item] to pray, reflect, and thank you. Amen."