Most years I find that the Lenten period sneaks up on me (does this happen to anyone else??) I always associate Easter with spring and sun and warmer weather, but completely forget that the beginning of this spiritual season starts in the dead cold of winter. Luckily, my church’s communication department does an excellent job reminding us about Ash Wednesday : )
This was the first Ash Wednesday service we’ve attended at our new church and it was a unique experience. I’m used to a low key, reflective service with the distribution of ashes, but they included additional elements of physical touch. During the service, the congregation was invited to come forward and interact with water, oil, salt, and clay. Each of these was accompanied by a short reflective question about how God is seeking to reach out to you or change you during these 40+ days. After a time, we were invited back up to receive our ashes: repent and believe in the Gospel!
That leads me to my personal choice for recognizing the Lenten season. I believe it’s important to acknowledge this lead-up period and use the time to reconnect with your faith and look forward to Jesus’ death and resurrection at Easter. In the past, I’ve given up various foods (peanut butter!!), but have found more value in adding something to my life. Therefore, I’ve decided this year to read at least two spiritual / faith related books over the next few weeks.
Unfortunately I don’t know where to begin!! I know there are a multitude of options out there and have seen a few on various blogs and websites, but I’m curious which ones are near and dear to your hearts. I don’t really have any criteria, just hoping to find a few that will enhance my relationship with God, teach me something about my faith, or provide new ways to challenge me.
If you have any suggestions for me, I’d love to hear them : )