Today is the start of Lent. Lent is the time of year where we spend 40 days (not including Sundays) giving up something in remembrance of Jesus’ time in the wilderness before his death and resurrection.
The thing is, I’ve been feeling as if loads of people are giving up stuff just for the sake of giving up something, or to be religious, or to do it for the sake of ‘Lent’. In other words, I feel that the meaning of Lent just isn’t there anymore.
To go even further, I don’t think Lent should be what we think it should be!
In stead, I have a different proposal. If you follow the Liturgical year (that is, the Church calendar) you will know, as I said before, that today is the start of Lent. The start of Lent has a very special name attached to it. And that name is Ash Wednesday.
What a peculiar name! What does ash have to do with giving things up and stuff like that?!
WELL -Ash Wednesday is a time where people go to churches all across the world and are marked with an ash cross on their forehead. Bit strange you may think….
Well, yeah, it is strange, but the meaning is completely amazing. The ash symbolises the fact that we are made from the dust of the earth. It also symbolises sin, mourning and repentance.
The act of ‘ashing the head’ is a symbol of saying sorry to God and turning around our lives in readiness to remember his ultimate
sacrifice on the cross for us. That’s what I think Lent should be about. Not necessarily the whole ‘I’m gonna give up chocolate’ ‘I’m
gonna get rid of Facebook for forty days’, but remembering who we really are in comparison to who God is.
From that, we can acknowledge him as our Heavenly Father who loves us and gave Himself for us, and that if we come and truly repent, we shall be healed and saved from hell and the grave.
If you are giving up something for Lent, I’m not saying that you’re being stupid or that it’s a silly thing to do! All I’m saying is that the real reason for Lent is found in Ash Wednesday – the Christ who gave up himself for us.
Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre.
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