What is Ash Wednesday?
Many Christians recognize the start of Lent, the season before Easter, with ashes smudged as a cross on the forehead. As the church leader does this, they say “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Ashes symbolize both our repentant posture toward our sin and the temporal nature of our earthly bodies. We’re saying: “This life on earth, fraught with the nature of sin, is not all there is.”
Journey Together in Worship
Join FUMC Marble Falls on our Lenten journey to the cross and resurrection in our sermon series: "Beauty from Ashes."
Why Recognize Lent?
“It is the spiritual equivalent of choosing to pick up the kettlebell instead of the Chex Mix, and it will have similar benefits for your soul.”
- Desiree Hausam, Green Catholic Burrow Blog.
In a world that celebrates indulgence whenever we want, practicing Lent is countercultural. The temporary suffering of Lent is a choice to live differently because we’ve been given new life in Christ, and He gives us the faith, hope, and strength to do so.
There are three parts of Lent: fasting, giving, and prayer.
Fasting During Lent
Fasting is simply an intentional way of putting ourselves in the way of grace by removing our reliance on earthly things. It’s not to show off or to get God’s approval. The goal is not a physical reward (losing a few pounds) and it’s not a form of repentance (you don’t fast from a sin, you confess those to God and turn from them.) Fasting is giving up something good from our lives so we can enjoy something better: the full presence of God.
Questions to ask yourself as you figure out what to fast from this Lent:
Have I become overly dependent on a particular sustenance, substance, or practice lately?
Which appetites have a unique grip on my body and soul these days?
What would be a genuine challenge (but not burdensome) fast?
What would be truly freeing to leave behind?
What do I sense God calling me to?
Remember, you’re human and you will likely mess up. Imperfection is part of the deal. We are dependent on God, not proving our worth or earning His love.
Giving During Lent
God calls us to giving all the time, but during Lent try connecting some giving to your fast. Giving up a food? Save that money and give to a food pantry. Giving up extra shopping? Use that money to help provide for other’s physical needs. Fasting from playing video games? Use that extra time to write letters to local nursing home residents, many of whose are lonely. Use the season to learn about the current needs, local and global.
Prayer During Lent
Lent invites us to make prayer a daily habit. Have a conversation with God: speaking and listening.
“Prayer is simply talking to God - and the most important thing I can say about this is that God wants you to talk to Him.”
- Rev. Billy Graham
Additional Lent Resources
Text on this page is summarized from a lent devotion book, "Bitter and Sweet," by Tsh Oxenreider. This devotion includes music and art for contemplation as well as ideas to include the whole family.
The Upper Room Daily Devotion is available at the Welcome Desk and in the Church office. The March/April issue is devoted to Lent. You can also follow along on their website at www.upperroom.org.
If you would like something a little different, Salt Project offers downloadable Lent devotions and calendars like: "Emily Dickenson and the Poetry of Lent," Vincent Van Gogh and the Beauty of Lent," and "Bless this Mess, DIY Lenten Calendar." They also offer Lent devotions specifically for families.
Contact Janiece Collier, our Education Director, or Stephanie DeVault, our Children's Ministry Director, for more Lent Resources for you and your family.