I’ve been intrigued by many traditions of the Catholics and of practices of the Church year, and it all began during my college years at Simpson. I wouldn’t consider myself to be quite as left as some of the “emerging church” ideas, however, I am in the same camp as many who believe that the church needs to be revived, and part of that revival will be reaching back to the old traditions and practices that were left long ago when the spilt began between Catholics and Protestants.
Some Protestant churches do incorporate the pre-Easter traditions of Ash Wednesday and Lent, but my church was not one of those churches, so it was all completely new to me during my time at Simpson.
I have practiced Lent in the past, and typically during Lent it is tradition to give up something in your life in order to teach you something about the suffering of Christ, but also to begin again and clean out our lives of the clutter we so often collect, both materially, and emotionally. Catholic traditions require fasting of food on certain days, fasting of meat on certain days and so forth, but Protestants have historically chosen something in their lives to clean out and personally to attend to.
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, and this year it begins next Wednesday, February 25th.
“Ash Wednesday is a turning point. On this day, the first day of Lent, we stop, take a good look at ourselves, and turn toward God. On Ash Wednesday, we begin again to follow Jesus Christ.” -from the “Upper Room”.
For many reasons, I have decided to personally participate in fasting from a few things beginning next Wednesday until Easter. Lent is also a time of mourning as well, so as to teach us the meaning of saying “HALLELUJAH!” when it comes time for Easter, but also to teach us the true meaning of rejoicing as well when we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Anyway, there is still a lot of depth about this time that I don’t understand fully, but I’ve done a lot of reading up on everything, and I believe this time will be a time of re-focusing on my purpose on earth, and to re-focus as I move back to the States, and see the LORD for his will in my life and for the future.
The “Mustard Seed Associates” sum up Lent well by saying: “During this season, we spend 40 days meditating on our brokenness—the brokenness in ourselves, in our relationships with God, with others, and with creation—that Jesus came to heal with his death and resurrection.” They are a good resource if you are interested in learning more about Lent, or would like to participate in a study during this time. There is a free download, if you’d like to check it out: Lenten Reflection Guide.
Anyway, there’s definitely more I could say about the next few weeks, but I’m really looking forward to this time. I may or may not blog between now and my arrival at home, we’ll see how busy things get! I should be home around April 7th, for those interested! Love you all!