Good morning, Beloved Family:
I’m sure many of you celebrated the beginning of the Lenten season by participating in Ash Wednesday services last night. I pray that you feel a deep sense of purpose and love, for our Lord’s journey to the cross.
Yesterday began the remembrance of the forty day journey of the death, burial and victorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus, The Christ. All culminating in Resurrection Sunday (Formerly known as Easter).
What is the purpose and meaning of Ash Wednesday, in the Christian Church?
“While the Bible does not mention Ash Wednesday, it does record accounts of people in the Old Testament using dust and ashes as symbols of repentance and/or mourning (2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; Daniel 9:3). The modern tradition of rubbing a cross on a person’s forehead identifies that person with Jesus Christ.” (https://www.gotquestions.org/Ash-Wednesday.html)
More than anything Lent, and the forty days that follow, allows us as believers to share in the suffering and sacrifices of Christ, in some small way. We want to be able to always remember and give honor to our Lord, as we lead up to the most holy day of the Christian calendar, Resurrection Sunday.
For Lent, we usually give up, or fast from, something that is a sacrifice for us. The purpose is to grow closer to God and to remind our flesh that we are worshippers of God before anything else, just as Christ did in his forty day fast in the desert.
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.