It’s Ash Wednesday! As a kid this meant that I would get a quarter’s folder. In case you don’t know, the quarter’s folder opens up to reveal slots where you can insert quarters. You know how on a bubble gum machine you have the slot to put your quarter in before turning the handle and getting a piece of gum? Well that’s what the slots look like on the folder. And each day, until Easter Sunday, you are suppose to put a quarter in one of the slots. If you did this, then on Easter Sunday your folder would be full.
Now, I have always been a competitive person. And, since the folder never meant anything more to me than a competition to see if I could fill it, that was my goal. Even more I would strive to fill multiple folders. Which always pleased our Church Pastor. Looking back I am not sure why though… Every penny counts? Or, maybe they thought I was really getting into the spirit of Lent. Either way it wasn’t true. I mean I guess the every penny counts is true, but I wasn’t concerned with sacrificing quarters and I had no idea what Lent even was. I simply wanted to turn in the most quarters and win. And, I usually did. 🙂
Now, as an adult I have to say my knowledge hasn’t improved much. Through my own studies I know the intent of the quarter folders was to take me on a journey of sacrifice just as Christ sacrificed for me. And the season of Lent is about repentance and reflection before the Resurrection and mankind’s redemption. But that’s pretty much where I get off the knowledge train. Should there be more? I don’t really know. But I am curious. And usually, when I have this type of spiritual curiosity there is a season of growth in the horizon.
So earlier today, I was thinking “Oh I am suppose to give up something until Easter. What should that be”. I don’t really drink soda. I don’t watch an extreme amount of television since we got rid of cable. So the only thing I could think of was giving up a specific type of food… And then I realized I don’t even know why I am giving it up. Because it will be hard? Will it draw me closer to God? Seriously? And then I thought, what good does it do for me to “give something up” if I don’t know the reason behind giving it up. I am not one to just blindly follow the crowd… at least not anymore. So, I decided to make my own commitment. Instead of giving something up I am going to add something in… a deeper understanding of the meaning of this season and the practices relating to it. Starting today, I will devote time daily to understanding Lent. How it started, what it means within my own denomination, the denomination I grew up in and other denominations. And, as a Christ-follower how should I honor, recognize or celebrate it today. Now, I am not committing daily to this part, but as much as possible I will blog about my journey so that you can come along for the ride. Because surely I am not the only person who had an incomplete Christian upbringing in relation to Lent 🙂