Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why this Baptist girl "does" Lent

The other day a friend of mine was telling me about her dad's tombstone.  Her dad is still alive, but his stone is already in place with his name and birthday engraved.  All that is left to do is add the date of his death.  At first I thought that was kind of creepy, but then I realized that we would all do well to have a physical reminder that our days are numbered.  Psalm 90:12 says, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."  Why would we need to be taught to number our days?  Because we tend to live like we will never die--especially when we are young.  How many more days do I have on this earth?  10,000? 1,000?  100?  1?
Today is Ash Wednesday.  This morning in Catholic churches all over the world priests dipped their thumbs into ashes and made a mark on each parishioner's forehead saying, "Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shall return."    It's a yearly reminder that this life on earth is temporary (and it's cheaper than having a marble stone engraved.)
Today also marks the start of the Lenten Season.  It's a 40 day period of repentance, preparation, reflection, discipline, self-denial, and reevaluation before Easter.  I'm not Catholic so it's not something I grew up doing, but something that I have chosen to do as an adult. I think we miss out if we only celebrate Palm Sunday and Easter without walking through the darkness of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  Lent is a time to acknowledge the sacrifice that was made for us by making a sacrifice of our own.  It's also a time to add something to our lives that will draw us closer to God.
Does your Easter preparation only involve shopping for new clothes and filling plastic eggs with candy or does it include reflection, sacrifice, and service?
When you wake up on Resurrection Sunday 40 days from now, will you be any different than you are today?  Why not?


kimmy said...

I have found that as I grow older, I appreciate the true meaning of Easter more and more. I get excited and have a real feeling of celebration.

jeedfe said...

I've spent the past week ineffectively trying to explain to my non-Catholic friends why I "do Lent"....and you've said it succently and wonderfully. THANK-YOU.