It’s Ash Wednesday!

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 🙂



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