I worship weekly at a non-denominational Christian church and we do not observe Ash Wednesdays in the same manners at my Lutheran and Catholic counter-parts do. We do not have a mass where we have blessed ashes applied to our foreheads. We are not forbidden to eat meat apart from fish on Fridays. We aren’t expected to give anything up during the Lent season.
I think that’s why intentionally doing things in observance of Lent has the potential to hold a sacred meaning for me. I was very fortunate to have a class called Christian Worship in my college years. It was a class that immensely blessed me in terms of stretching my understanding of my faith and forced me to relinquish my fears of things that were labeled as ritual and force myself to determine what sacrifice and worship meant to me.
To me, worship means giving praise, honor or glory to anything through time, word, or talent. In other words, when you worship something, you devote your time to it. My heart cry is to be continually giving my worship to God, but I stumble and fall in that area daily. I focus on self, and other things without even paying so much as lip service to God. It is something that I know I will battle every day of my life, and I am thankful, constantly for the grace that abounds in spite of my folly.
I observe Lent, in parts, not out of obligation and not out of requirement. (Do not read this that I believe other denominations do, because it is at the very heart of each and every person. There are days when I take communion because it is part of the order of service, not because my head and heart are focused. It is a matter of single hearts in terms of doing anything. My prayer life and Scripture reading become ritual if I don’t focus on God Himself.)
This year I am already full swing in my Compassion Campaign, so I have been adding a lot of spiritual disciplines to my daily life. (That’s a challenge, no joke.) And so I knew that for Lent, if I chose to give up something, it would be more than just a mere sacrifice of time. I am excited about what I have chosen, and at the end of Lent I hope to share with you what I learned through my sacrifice. But, my sincere prayer is that this is a season where I can start to relate with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Without His payment on the Cross, I would have a debt that remains outstanding. My driving factor for my Compassion Campaign is to leave no debt outstanding but the love for one another. So my debt of sins against God is, thankfully, a bill that’s been paid.
How about you, are you observing Lent this season?