Today is Ash Wednesday. The first day of Lent–marking the first of 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday. The most important season on the Christian calendar
Most of you are probably familiar with the traditions surrounding this day–fasting from something for 40 days as a way of sacrificial thanks for what Jesus has done for us. Growing up Protestant, I never observed Lent. However, there is much good to be found in this age-old tradition.
Why not talk about what you could both fast from for the next 40 days. It could be television, a certain show you both enjoy, a certain food or drink, or an activity or hobby you could set aside for these few weeks. Tom and I have agreed to fast together, and I am looking forward to what God will do in our hearts as a result.
Ash Wednesday also serves another purpose, to remind us of our mortality.
The familiar ashes on the forehead is a tangible reminder that we all came from dust and to dust we will return. It’s a known fact that no one who has ever been born gets out of this life alive. We are all destined to die and after that comes the judgment, as the Bible faithfully proclaims. It is good to consider the hereafter. Talk about it. Pray about it. Consider what a privilege each day together on this earth is to you.
We have many friends who have said goodbye to their spouse in this life. It is a sad, lonely journey that no one can walk through for them. Comfort comes in different ways. When my Dad passed away, my Mom found comfort in serving others. She began cooking for those who were sick. She would visit them, send them cards and pray for them. She said it helped keep her from feeling sorry for herself. She was a strong woman, far stronger than me, but I respected her resolve to give her life away in the midst of such grief.
I believe that thinking about our mortality helps us keep that which is most important in view.
It motivates our choices and helps us make a priority of the things that will matter for eternity. This is Spiritual Intimacy at its best–connecting what God is saying to me with what God is saying to my husband. When we talk about it our hearts are drawn closer together as well as to God.
May your Ash Wednesday be holy and lead to a more intimacy in your spiritual life as husband and wife.
Ash Wednesday seems so far away
and very long ago;
Good Friday’s now the Groundhog Day
of this private Alamo.
They say I need not sacrifice,
that cancer is enough,
but I won’t follow their advice
and offer gentle rebuff.
‘Tis sacrifice that clear the mind
and purifies the soul,
to ponder what Christ left behind
when He died to make me whole.
It’s not about self-deprivation;
it scours the soul, divine ablation.
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