Ash Wednesday – An Invitation to Return to God

Today is Ash Wednesday – the first day of Lent, the season leading up to Easter designed to turn our hearts back toward God.  Often when people think of this season, they reduce it to one question:  What are you giving up for Lent?

Although giving something up for Lent is a practice that’s intended to lead toward self-reflection and repentance, this question can only take us so far.  That’s because spiritual practices are not an end in themselves – they are simply part of our journey.  The destination is God Himself.

The goal of Ash Wednesday and Lent is to move us closer to God.  So rather than simply asking “What are you giving up?”, we should consider asking this:  “How can I return to God with all my heart?  What things have gotten in the way of my relationship with God, and how will I seek to make changes so that God is first in my life?”

With that in mind, I invite you to join me in the coming days as I seek to celebrate the meaning of Lent – a time of renewal and reflection, and time of coming back to what’s most important, a time of dying to self so that I can live fully to Christ.  I encourage you to consider what activities or things you may need to let go of during this season in order tomake more space for God.  I invite you to allow God to search you and know you, and to point out the ways you are bent, broken, and needing repentance and forgiveness.

If you are planning on giving something up for Lent, I invite you to use that as a continual reminder of your need for God’s mercy and forgiveness.  A reminder to surrender yourself wholly to Him and receive His good gifts to you.

So let us begin this journey together…

“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of the holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.  And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.  Amen.”  Book of Common Prayer

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