Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins today, on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter).
Lent is a period of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. Today and historically, it is a time of self-examination and reflection.
Ash Wednesday is the day we recognize our mortality, repent of our sins, and return to our loving God. We recognize life as a precious gift from God, and re-turn our lives towards Jesus Christ. In the Bible, we read that it was customary for ashes to be used as a sign of remorse, repentance, and mourning.
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
In the Garden sin was a choice, once that choice was taken all of humanity was stained by sin.
What sin still remains in you?
Lust, pride, anger, gossip, comparison, apathy, laziness, bitterness, indifference, addiction...?
King David was known as a man after God's own heart. But as a "man" he knew he was sinful and cried out to God for a NEW heart. David hated his sin... he knew that sin kept him from being all God called him to be. How about you? What is keeping you from being all God calls you to be?
This psalm captures the message of Ash Wednesday.
Make this psalm your own as you confess your sins to GOD and give Him permission to give you a new heart...
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.