We are well past Ash Wednesday in this Lenten Season. Yet, it was my fresh experience of Ash Wednesday that made Lent come alive for me this year.
This year, for the first time in my ministry, I had the privilege of participating in the imposition of ashes at an Ash Wednesday service. As I intoned the words: “from ashes you came and to ashes you will return,” dipping my thumb in the ashes and making the sign of the cross on the forehead of those who came forward, I was reminded of several things which I don’t normally consider during Lent.
I was reminded of how frail and fleeting life really is. It is so easy to get caught up in the frenetic pace of day to day life and the demands of ministry; yet I was reminded how important it is to slow the pace and enjoy the embrace of our loving God and Savior. . . to savor each moment of ministry and to take the time to truly enjoy and value each person we meet.
I was reminded that this journey through the Lenten Season should be a journey toward a deeper personal relationship with Jesus. When we deny ourselves of whatever we have chosen to “give up” for Lent, it is so we will be reminded of Jesus’ command to “deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him”.
The Lenten Season can serve as a powerful reminder of who we are as followers of Christ and how we are to live as his disciples in this time and place. It can remind us to make the most of every opportunity to “follow God’s example . . . as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2).
This year, I will spend time reflecting on these things. . .
Rev. Yvonne B. Carter
Cleveland Baptist Association