Greetings on this week of Lent. The purpose of this 46-day period, which this year is March 2 to April 16, is to provide an opportunity to set aside more time and put in more effort to one’s spiritual growth. It is also a time to prepare one’s heart to celebrate the resurrection. But before resurrection, comes crucifixion.
As followers of Christ, we are called upon to take up our cross and follow Jesus. (Matt. 16:24-26). To take up a cross is to be willing and ready to die to ourselves, our pride, desires, even our perceived needs in order to follow Jesus Christ.
Time: To begin to take up our cross, we need to devote time away from the cares of the world. As we devote time to prayer, we give God an opportunity to speak to our spirits, minds, and souls. In prayer, we Adore our God, Confess our sins, Thank God for our blessings, and offer our Supplications (requests) to God (ACTS). All of these take time.
Sacrifice: The more we have, the harder it is to lay them down. Whether it be our free time, finances, activities, or possessions, given them up is difficult. Most of us are used to having our own way in our own time. Are we willing to ask God what He wants for us? Better yet, are we willing what we need to give up? What are we willing to give, to stop, to sacrifice for the benefit of our own souls, or for the good of our congregation? What are we willing to sacrifice for the kingdom of God?
Death: Ashes are such a great representation of mourning, loss, confession and death. As we place the ashes on our hands or foreheads, we are reminded of the palms with which we celebrated Jesus’ triumphant entry. All burnt to ashes. We place these ashes on ourselves as reminders of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We place them as signs of sorrow for our own sins. We place them as signs of a willingness to give of our time, sacrifice our desires, and die to ourselves.
My prayer is that we may all devote more of ourselves to God, our communities, and to each other. Determine now to devote time to God, sacrifice what you will, and die to yourselves so that Christ may live in and through you.
May God bless your journey,