Ash Wednesday // Joel 2:12-13
Today is Ash Wednesday, beginning the season of Lent — the time of preparation for the glory of Easter. It focuses on acknowledging our mortality, calling us to know Jesus is the One who saves us from our sin, and a commitment (or recommitment) to get right with God because of what Christ did on the cross. Today’s verse offers a powerful framework for how we are to approach this season: return to God with your whole heart; fast as a way to focus on His grace that covers our sin; feel remorse for the sins with which we still struggle; and seek to live anew thanks to the renewing mercy God so freely gives. One of the actions Christians all over the world do on Ash Wednesday is to have the shape of the cross placed on the forehead as a reminder of our mortality, confession of our need for God’s mercy, and a commitment to live for the Lord. Perhaps you will embark on a time of fasting this season, which is indeed customary. Fasting doesn’t have to be all about going without food, maybe this is the time to stay away from activities that can distract you from faithful obedience. They need not be bad things, and often are good things that tend to get a disproportionate amount of our time, energy, and/or money. Then, expend whatever resources are freed up in your fast on God and using your life to point people to Him. So, let’s dive headfirst into this season with a commitment to return to God with our whole heart. Let’s grieve the things that the Lord grieves. Then, celebrate God’s lovingkindness and dedicate our lives to live for Him.