March 09, 2011 by Pastor Jeremiah
Today begins with the song lyrics of an old rock song my dad used to listen to running through my head, “no sugar tonight in my coffee, no sugar tonight in my tea, no sugar to stand beside me, no sugar to run with me.” Yes, I’m giving up sugar for the next 46 days in observance of Lent.
Lent begins with a day referred to as Ash Wednesday. Typically, this is a day to be spent in self-examination. Apparently, it wasn’t always this way. Until around the 7th century the Lenten season began on the 40th Sunday of the year. However, that was changed by Gregory the Great who moved it to a Wednesday in order to secure the exact 40 days (excluding Sundays which were considered feast days). Gregory, who was pope from c.590-604, is also credited with establishing the ceremony that gives this day its name. “Ash Wednesday” as it is so called is observed by Christians receiving the mark of the cross on their foreheads in ash as a sign of penance. It is said to be a symbol of repentance, similar to the Biblical act of covering oneself with sackcloth and ashes. It is also a symbol that is designed to remind us of our mortality: “You are dust and to dust you will return.” (Gen. 3:19)
Hint: for those of you that will be observing lent this year let me make a recommendation. The YouVersion Bible app. for smartphones and tablets has a Lent themed Bible reading plan. The application is free to download and very user friendly.