That one time I asked a Silly Question on Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"What's that dirt on your face?" I asked an unsuspecting fellow graduate student. They told me "these are my ashes."

I didn't grow up "celebrating" Lent as I see it done in the U.S. True, my parents taught me to love Jesus with all of my heart. We just didn't "celebrate" Lent this way. Easter was the Super Bowl of the year for us (followed closely by Christmas). So there I was, a graduate student in the U.S. surrounded by people who heavily drank but for 40 days they are giving up alcohol. Impressive to say the least.

I still didn't "get it." I think that when people asked me what I was going to give up for Lent I said "I don't know, probably nothing."

There's nothing wrong with Lent. I love to see people with the ashes on their forehead and talking about things they're giving up for Lent. I also don't see anything wrong with people who do not focus on 40 days of sacrifice.

Here's my deal with God:

• I told Him I want to practice spiritual disciple as a habit not an event. I want to (Biblical) fast more often as to obey Jesus' "when you fast...";

• I want Easter to be a HUGE celebration in the Listenbee household. Bigger than any of our birthdays. Now that will take some planning, intentionality and rest. I'm up for the challenge!

My kids haven't noticed the ashes because our church celebrates Lent a different way. When they do notice I want to explain why with knowledge and respect.

If you're giving up something for Lent, may the Holy Spirit be your Guide, Teacher and Encourager. If like me you don't participate in this tradition, let's remember the reason of Lent and let's focus our love and admiration on Jesus the Risen Christ.