Throughout much of the Christian church, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season known as Lent. This has historically been a time set aside for fasting and prayer; to draw the believer into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. This time is designed to help the faithful more fully understand what the last days of Jesus’ life on earth were like. We are to use this time to allow ourselves to experience his triumph, his betrayal, and his suffering. The season culminates with the observance of Holy Week which includes the Maundy Thursday last supper that Jesus experienced with his disciples and the Good Friday experience of his crucifixion. All of this is to prepare us to rejoice in the resurrection of our Savior at Easter.
During this time, many believers choose to give up or sacrifice something that is symbolic of fasting -- a time when we refrain from eating certain foods during certain hours. As a child, I would often give up candy or bubble gum. We also had small boxes or coin folders, that daily, we placed a penny, nickel or dime. In all, these practices helped me to learn the meaning of sacrifice and the importance of being self-sacrificial regarding my money, resources and possessions.
Have you thought about how you will spend the season of Lent? Have you given any consideration to what you might sacrifice that could draw you closer to Christ? At the beginning of this season, I encourage you to spend some time in reflection. Think about what you can do -- in a tangible way -- to manifest your commitment to Christ and to those who he came to save. In doing so, I am sure you will find a way to make a significant sacrifice that will make this Lenten season come alive for you in a new way. Get started today!
In Lenten Reflection,
Rev. Paul Hobson Sadler, Sr, Senior Pastor
Mt. Zion Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
10723 Magnolia Drive
Cleveland, OH 44106