Lenten Practices

By Sandy Rothschiller

Ash Wednesday is the name given to the first day of the season of Lent. Lent lasts for 40 days. If you want to calculate it out, you count the days between Ash Wednesday and Easter then subtract the Sundays. Why subtract the Sundays? The church sees every Sunday as a celebration of Easter, of the risen Jesus. So Sundays are omitted in the count. Ash Wednesday begins the season and is most often recognized by the application of ashes. The Pastor applies ashes to the foreheads of Christians to signify an inner repentance.

Repentance is the activity of reviewing one’s actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs. It generally involves a commitment to personal change and resolving to live a more responsible and humane life.

The Ash Wednesday service gives all of us a time and a place to review our lives. This is an opportunity to do some self reflection and ask yourself the question. How am I doing? Is there anything I would like to do to enhance my spiritual life? Is there anything I would like to add to my life that I believe will bring me closer to God? Is there something in my life that I would like to stop doing so that I may feel closer to God?

During the season of Lent you can practice those things in your life that will enhance your relationship with Jesus. Some people choose to add prayer, prayer partners, specific prayer time, and new ways of praying. Others practice ways to catch themselves judging others or catching themselves looking at each person as a loved child of God.

The opportunities are many. All of us parts of ourselves that we would like to repent and hand over to Jesus, we can make that a habit during Lent. Change can be good, especially when we let go of that which keeps us from experiencing the grace Jesus has for us.

Sandy Rothschiller is the Associate Pastor of Spiritual Care at Prince of Peace.

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