First, allow me to update you on the Walk Across America…….
This week we walked 64.82 miles … our best week so far. We’re in
Noyan, QC, Canada about to cross Lake Champlain. We’ve walked 383.8
miles and are 11.34% of the way through our journey. Funny….. On Wednesdays, I prepare the meal for our Wednesday Night Alive. This past Wednesday, I cleared my pedometer as I entered the kitchen at 12:30pm. I walked out of the kitchen at 6:45pm….. I had walked over 8 miles in the church kitchen!!!
Second, today is Shrove Tuesday….. or Fat Tuesday, if you please. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday; the day in which, the Lent season begins. The word, “Lent,” comes from the Middle English word, “lenten,” meaning spring. Spring is the season in which all of God’s creations come back to life from the cold winter’s death. The Lent season ends on Easter day, the very day we celebrate Christ’s resurrection.
Lent is a period of fasting and penitence. It was traditionally observed by Christians as a preparation for Easter. The length of Lent is 40 days. The reason for 40 days is because of the 40 days in the wilderness experienced by Moses, Elijah, and Christ. Moses purified himself before going before the Lord on Sinai by fasting for 40 days (Exodus 24:15-18). Elijah’s fast of 40 days was like Moses….. in order to approach God on Horeb (1 Kings 19:8). And Christ prepared himself for public ministry by fasting 40 days in the wilderness, where Satan tried temptation…. and failed miserably (Luke 4:1-2).
There are three traditional disciplines associated with Lent:
Fasting: Skipping a meal once a week or refraining form eating certain foods (The forbidden foods were meat, milk, eggs, and butter). This gives us the opportunity to spend more time feeding on the Word of God and being spiritually nourished through prayer and meditation.
Abstinence: Removing a particular bad habit, sinful indulgence or guilty pleasure from our daily routine. This frees us to engage in activities that are God-pleasing and reflect in a small way the self-sacrifice that Christ endured for us.
Almsgiving: Giving something extra during this time—-to our church, to the poor, and to the needy amongst us like charities or other service organizations. This is to help us remember that Christ gave up everything to save us from sin and to free us to live a new life with Him.
On Ash Wednesday, many churches have a ceremony in which ashes are placed on our foreheads in the form of a cross. The ashes are a symbol of purification in the Old Testament which reminds us that we are only mere mortals. Ashes also represents penance…..and thus Ash Wednesday. The ashes are a reminder to help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice. Some churches burn the palm leaves from the previous Easter season and use those ashes in the ceremony.
“Remember that you are dust, and dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:19
So tomorrow, we will begin our Lent….. our remembrance…..our fasting….. our abstinence….. our almsgiving. This year, I decided to use candles along with the daily Bible readings and devotionals to remember why Christ taught, lived, and died for me.
I found 40 tealights (Yeah, I know….. who keeps that many tealights around). I arranged them on my great grandmother’s platter. We will light a tealight each day while we read our devotional and Bible readings.
I personally will be fasting from milk, meat, eggs, and butter this year. I have done this in years past and really enjoy the challenge. I will be abstaining from sugar. This is going to be hard. I am a sugarholic. Plus, my goal this year is to abstain from whining about what all I have given up…… I got a bruise when I read this little tid-bit from Jesus
When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:16-18
My almsgiving will be a little different this year. I am trying to rally the Team Dettra into doing a family project…..5 minute showers, no electricity, and well, guess I am a little nuts with my ideas! Then, I ran across this little idea…..
40 Bags in 40 Days….
Each day, I will fill a bag or a small box to give away to Goodwill or ARC. I will be spring cleaning and giving away at the same time.
May God bless you during this Lenten season!!