Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent which is the season where the global church remembers together Jesus’ love for us through his work on the cross.  We are designing a service that will be held at three different times throughout the day (7am, 12pm, 6pm) for you to come to Riverbend at the Smith Family Chapel and prepare your heart to celebrate Easter.  It is going to be an active and reflective service that incorporates song, Bible reading, reflections, and actions.  It is designed to be an immersive and interactive service that opens the door to for our hearts to engage Jesus in a new way.

Kids and adults of all ages are welcome to participate.  I hope you will consider coming and engage Jesus in a new way this year.

Typically this season of Lent coincides with the practice of fasting, reflecting and repentance.  Truth be told, I don’t like to do these three things, and that’s exactly why I need it.

Since I naturally gravitate toward the “happier times” in the Bible, I need to be reminded about both the seriousness of my culpability before God as well as the joy God took in rescuing me.  In some strange way, God found joy in the obedience of his Son dying on the cross.  What I am discovering, is that God wants me to grow from the joy he has in rescuing me.

In order to be transformed by the joy of Jesus’ work on the cross, there are three tools that help me:

  1. Fasting – Fasting is all about creating space in our lives for God to do his work.  The idea is that we stop doing what we do to take care of ourselves (eating) in order to focus on God’s sustaining and transforming work in our lives.  The fast doesn’t have to be about food.  It can be anything that creates space for you to pay attention to God’s work in you.  Some years, I take a fast from a particular food that brings me comfort in order to see God’s comfort is what I most need.  Other years, I fast from the distractions of social media in order to see that it’s my connection with God that I need most.  Other times, I have fasted from my own words spoken to God in order to see that it is my listening to God that I need most.  Whatever it is, your fast is about getting your attention off your work and on to Christ’s work.
  2. Reflecting – The fasting creates the space for us to begin reflecting.  The work of reflection is intentional.  We rethink the old story of the cross that we think we know.  In reflection, we learn to ask, “God what’s the work you are doing in my life?”
  3. Repenting – The work of repentaning is an intentional act of confession of the ways we fail to follow Jesus’ work in our lives.  When we ask, “God what work are you doing in my life,” we follow that with another question, “What ways am I getting in the way of your work?”  Repentance is not an action that is designed to make us feel bad.  It is an agreement with God that he knows best about how to lead our lives.  It is not only an affirmation of the direction he is leading us, but also a confession of our desire to get in on his work.

If you would like help to engage the Easter story in new ways this year, consider coming to the Ash Wednesday service.

Let us know what you think.