In earlier centuries, ashes were used to mark those who had been separated from the church because of serious sins and were seeking to be re-admitted to the fellowship of the church. In effect, they were redoing the process of final preparation for church membership along with those doing it for the first time. They sprinkled with ashes and given rough garments to wear as a sign of sorrow for their sins and their commitment to seek renewal in Christian life through this season. In many churches the ashes are made by burning the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday. Ashes are place on the forehead or back side of the hand, usually in the sign of a cross, in a ritual known as the Imposition of Ashes. It is an outward sign of our sorrow and repentance for sins.
Many during the Lenten season Abstain or Fast. Giving up something for Lent is a common practice for many Christians. Often we give up a favorite food or try to kick a bad habit, but don't confine yourself to food or habits How about abstaining from gossip or complaining. What about defensive attitudes, fear, or anxiety? You probably won't be perfect at this, but being mindful of times when these attitudes begin to take hold of your day can lead you to prayer. Instead of setting a special time to pray, how about saying short prayers all day long. Pray for your day, Pray for the drivers of the vehicles and mass transit passengers, Medical personnel, Police, Garbage collectors, Mail Carriers/Clerks and all Government workers. Offer one sentence prayers for your co-workers and so on. Be mindful of our Creator who longs to be in relationship with you! Some find meaning in stillness and quiet time, try practicing by lighting a candle and pausing before the presence of God. Listen to the birds...….the voice of God!
Give to your church; United Methodist Committee on Relief or other Charitable organizations. Serve others, lending a helping hand to someone that can't do something for themselves without expectation of reward. Find ways to bless others with that which God has Blessed and entrusted to you!
If you don't have a church home, come and try us out. We would love to see you and aid you in your journey of life; growing in your relationship with your neighbors and with God!
Thank you for Reading, your brother in Christ, Pastor Ken