ASH WEDNESDAY IN THE WORD February 22, 2023
“PREPARING FOR EASTER”
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 NKJV
Ash Wednesday is a significant way to begin the season of Lent, since it links us back to where this story is headed. The Triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, His arrest, trial suffering and death. Traditionally, the ashes of this day are obtained by burning the dried palm fronds that were used in the celebration of Palm Sunday of the previous year. The services of Ash Wednesday mark the beginning of the season of Lent through, Scripture readings, songs of the season and concentrated prayers. Many Christians begin a time of special Fasting, that last throughout Lent, except Sundays. It has however, over the years taken on many different forms, from giving up a particular food or habit, to taking on a new Spiritual discipline. Either way, the purpose is to move us to a New deeper prayer and devotion in life to Jesus.
In Galatians 2:20(a) which says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. How does this happen? It is because of Jesus’ resurrection; that God can look at us as if we too have died with Christ. Jesus has paid the penalty for our sins. Galatians 20b says, “And this life I now live in the flesh I live by Faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” We are no longer condemned (Colossians 2:13-15). In our daily life there will always be a battle with temptation. Therefore, we must resist the temptations that so easily beset us, by crucifying our sinful desires that keep us from following Christ (Luke 9:23-25). As we grow closer to Jesus during this time, a Repentant Heart, Mind and Spirit becomes the key to our deepening relationship with Him, that goes beyond the season.
That is what Lent is all about, and it is what Ash Wednesday offers us. A time for us to begin our preparations by embracing this season of Renewal and quiet Reflection. It allows us to figure out what is clogging our mind, body and soul from truly being prepared to see Jesus. What or Who is distracting you and blurring your focus? Think of what you can let go of this Lenten season, so you can experience a true sense of Renewal. Remember, Lent calls us away from easy religion. It presses upon our hearts the radical claims of the gospel message we are to live by. And that is what keeps us preparing for the greatest day of All time…Easter, Resurrection Sunday! Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus and Amen.