Wednesday, February 17, 2010

ash wednesday

what do you believe about ash wednesday? do you know what it is? what it stands for or signifies? does it impact you?

i will tell you this. when i was growing up, i thought it only applied to my catholic friends. that it was a special, secretive ceremony that went on in their churches every february. and when they came out, the same mark was on all their foreheads signifying something i didn't understand; that wasn't meant for me and i wasn't entitled to. i remember feeling somewhat left out albeit kind of scared at the same time.

on top of that, they all had to give stuff up! what? for 40 days. yes. 40 days they had to deny themselves of something they really enjoyed doing, eating, reading, eating, something. a habit they wanted to break themselves of maybe, a vice, or something pleasureable. it seemed really crazy to me. sometimes there was success, sometimes not. and then there was the whole "no fish on friday" thing. i never understood that one, either. and this only seemed to apply to certain people. i don't remember having to follow this in my church. secretly, i was glad because i wondered what i'd do if i was made to give up the one thing i really, truly loved! what then?

now that i am older...grown up and a bit wiser in my years, i have a greater appreciation for the spiritual side of things. i understand a tiny bit more how valuable it is to attend to days like ash wednesday and recognize the significance of them in my life. especially since ash wednesday is the beginning of what we call lent which leads to the celebration of easter, it's all the more crucial for me personally.

recognizing my sin, the need for a savior, repenting daily.....whew! how do you handle all that? thankfully, i don't have to on my own because jesus did it for me! he conquered life and death for me and you, and that is the aim of ash wednesday. receiving the sign of that smudge of a cross on our foreheads - that is a reminder that we are dust and to dust we shall return, and in so doing, we are giving ourselves to god.

happy day.....

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