Yes, we were up at 6:00 taking our family to an early morning Ash Wednesday service at our church this week. It was a tiny crowd that gathered in our candle-lit sanctuary, a remnant of a larger crowd that gathers regularly for corporate worship. We prayed through Psalm 51 together and received the mark of the ashes (they’re still on my forehead as I type) signifying repentance of sin and for me, cleaving to God. I am grateful for the rhythm of the Lenten season. 40 days seems so long when given to voluntary weakness (fasting, prayer, taking a ‘step back’ from the world). But these seasons of focused prayer and reflection always bring about an increase of my gratefulness to the Lord.
In a few weeks we’ll break our fast, the color will wash back through our skin and we will enter the season of celebration: celebrating the victory of our Risen Lord who now holds the keys to death and hades. In reality, we celebrate this every day. But Lent helps me remember personally and with much detail what the Lord has done for me.