Friday, March 7, 2014

For Dust You Are . . .


Genesis 3:19
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.

Lent began on Ash Wednesday of this week.  As I did last year, I visit Pastor Emily at our local Starbucks where she is dispensing ashes and praying with us for penitent hearts and a spirit of humility as we enter into this holy, reflective season in the church year.  Receiving ashes at a secular place of business may seem to many of you, especially my Catholic friends, a bit odd, and that's certainly understandable.  However, Emily believes this is a chance for Christian witness in the community at large, and I'm with her on that.

Traditionally, Lent is a time when we give up a favorite food, drink or pastime in order to be more mindful of the ultimate sacrifice our Lord Jesus made for us on the cross for our sins.  While I'm comfortable with giving something up, I also feel that Lent is a time for taking something on.  Creating new habits and practices which can strengthen and enhance my walk with God.

So, what am I giving up this year?  The same time-waster I've given up the past two Lenten seasons:  computer solitaire.  I know, I know, it sounds cheesy, but I play it way too often when I should be embracing Bible study, reading, and my creative writing.

And, what am I taking on?  Two things.  First (I'm ashamed to admit this as I didn't complete this project last Lent), I'm determined to finish reading the entire Bible with the aid of the book 66 Love Letters by Larry Crabb.  A much better use of my time than playing solitaire, wouldn't you agree?  Second, I'm making my quasi-resolution to write a minimum of 500 words per day a true commitment.  As I've stated here before, when I write is when I feel the closest to God.

Oh, and just a reminder for you courtesy of Pastor Wallace:  Every Sunday in Lent is a mini-Easter.  It's the one day of the week when you can indulge in the habits you have given up and take a break from the new habits you've begun.  I don't know about you, but this makes me feel a lot more confident about tackling the season of Lent successfully.

~

What about you?  What are you giving up/taking on for Lent?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Prayer:  May this season of Lent be a blessed on for us, Father, as we grow in our faith walk with You.  Let us remember each and every day the sacrifice made for us by Your precious Son, Christ Jesus, as we prepare once again to celebrate His glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday.  Amen.

22 comments:

  1. I think it is kind of cool that she dispenses ashes at such a public place as a Starbucks. I think she has the right idea. God's mercy and love is for all, not just those that make a habit of attending the "elite club" most people call church. God is every where and within everyone so why not acknowledge Him and celebrate Him everywhere and in front of everyone instead of behind closed church doors? Bravo to Pastor Emily!!

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    1. Bravo, indeed, to Pastor Emily, Kathy! So glad you agree here that we need to take the church to the streets, not wait for the streets to lead someone to the faith.
      Love and blessings!

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  2. I too like the visible aspect of Emily's work - most Protestant traditions don't do Lent in any significant way. For me, as Paul wrote, one day is the same as another - if I am not offering all of my days and nights to God, why not? Why only certain days holy when all the earth proclaims His glory daily?

    Just color me odd :D

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    1. Rick, you are not odd! I like the point you've made here that all of days and nights should be devoted to the Lord. Ash Wednesday and Lent are a time to refocus ourselves upon doing just that - worshiping and serving God with heightened awareness. It's one of my favorite seasons in the church year. So, maybe I'm a bit odd, too? :)
      Blessings to you!

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  3. I haven't given much thought to what I'll give up for Lent. I like this post.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Michelle! When you decide what to give up/take on for Lent, please come back and share.
      Blessings to you!

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  4. Martha,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Lent. I love the goals you have set for yourself during this time--perhaps things you'll keep on doing after Easter.

    Like Michelle, I haven't really given much thought to what I'll give up for Lent.

    Love and blesssings!

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    1. Kim, I do hope to keep up these practices after Easter. After all, it's all about forming new habits which bring us closer in our faith walk with the Lord.
      I must admit, I've had that itchy finger for solitaire, but so far, so good! :)
      Oh, and when you decide what you are doing for Lent, please come back and share.
      Love and blessings!

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  5. Gen 3:19 You are dust and to dust you shall return. That scripture will change a person perspective. I have never did the ash thing on the forehead, I would have to do it everyday since it's a always a giving up my will for his on a daily bases. Good thoughts.

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    1. Betty, it sounds like your perspective is the same as Rick, and that's exactly the attitude we should have every day, not just during Lent.
      And, yes, some would look at this scripture as a "downer," but it's exactly what we need to hear and know to keep us humble in the face of our Creator.
      Thanks so much for coming by!
      Blessings to you!

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  6. A time to detoxify mind and body. Good wishes and love.

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    1. Great plans, Janaki! Thanks so much for visiting today. Love and blessings to you!

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  7. Not Catholic here so no sacreligion :) And I like lots the idea of not only giving up, but taking on too, giving up a not so good thing and taking up a better one. I'm a little seasonless right now. I think this Lent will pass me by. Don't have much to give up, maybe Ill let go of a little bit of oversensitity and take on a little more love. I'll work on that. Promise (at least for today and tomorrow). God Bless you Martha.

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    1. Taking on more love? What a terrific thing to do, Craig! Thanks so much for stopping by and for leaving your thoughtful comment. :)
      Love and blessings to you!

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  8. Not Catholic here so no sacreligion :) And I like lots the idea of not only giving up, but taking on too, giving up a not so good thing and taking up a better one. I'm a little seasonless right now. I think this Lent will pass me by. Don't have much to give up, maybe Ill let go of a little bit of oversensitity and take on a little more love. I'll work on that. Promise (at least for today and tomorrow). God Bless you Martha.

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  9. I want to be healthy - soon <3 that's the highest priority as of now and yes in letting go, I want to be able to let go of people who create negativity just by being what they are around and not let them hamper my moods and decisions!

    A thought provoking post Martha, sharing it :)

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    1. Oh, I want you healthy, too, Privy. Have you been ill recently? I'll keep you in my prayers, my friend.
      And, yes, ignoring/letting go of people with negative attitudes is definitely a step in the right direction. They can so bring us down, can't they?
      Thanks so much for visiting!
      Love and blessings!

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  10. hi Martha, Lent has more meaning to me this year than past years. I'm still learning much about the traditions, practices and the Christian faith. Thank you for sharing your Lent experience and your Solitaire sacrifice:)

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  11. Thanks so much for stopping by, Vishnu! Believe me, I may have been a Christian for many years, but each season finds me learning more, too. It's a never-ending and joyful journey of discovery, is it not?
    Love and blessings, my friend!

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  12. I don't usually participate in Lent, I have in the past though.
    For me, I think Lent is a lot like Fasting. One can either have an outward show or our hearts can truly be seeking more of God. Sadly I think many trade the blessings of true Lent or Fasting for an outward show that makes their flesh feel good and strokes their pride.
    Good post. thanks.

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    1. Great to see you here, TC, and welcome!
      What you've said in your comment reminds me of what Jesus accused the Pharisees of doing - wearing that "look" which tells the world "I'm suffering in my righteousness." We should maintain our joy of being saved through Christ and give up/take on things which only bring us closer to Him.
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing today!
      Blessings to you!

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