Tomorrow another season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. We want to invite you to morning prayers at 6:30 am at the Kas House to join us for an Ash Wednesday Liturgy. If you cannot make it to this, there are two other communities nearby who also will be having Ash Wednesday Liturgies in the PM: 6:00pm at Oakdale Park Church at 6:00pm 961 Temple St. SE GR or 7:30PM at Woodlawn CRC at 7:30pm at Calvin College’s Chapel. Text a friend and experience an Ash Wednesday liturgy together.
What is all of this Lent and Ash Wednesday Stuff?
The day before Ash Wednesday has traditionally been called Fat Tuesday. This has led some cultures to create holidays that are quite festive - Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Carnival in Rio de Janeiro are two city-wide, all-out, parties that are culturally a part of the Lenten season.
Then comes Ash Wednesday. A starkly different ceremony that serves as a reminder that we are made from dust – and it’s to dust that we shall soon return to. It is a reminder of the God’s People putting repentance into practice:
- A reminder of the prophecy of Jonah to Ninevah and the fast of repentance in sackcloths and ashes – God relented, they turned to Him (Jonah 3).
- A reminder of a similar event that happened with Mordecai and Esther after a decree was issued to kill all of God’s people of Judah (Esther 4).
- A reminder of the 40 days that Moses spent within a cloud on God’s mountain (Exodus 24).
- A reminder of the 40 days journey of Elijah to God’s holy mountain – in the midst of depression, after a mountain top experience on Carmel (1st Kings 19)
- A reminder of the 40 years that God’s people dwelled in the wilderness (Numbers 14).
- A reminder of the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting in the desert in the midst of temptations (Matthew 4).
If you choose to share in the Lenten Fast, then this is the same story you are sharing in. Whether you give something up, or choose to do something – we share in this story marked by a season of preparation that looks forward to the Word of the Lord acting in our world. It is repentance put into practice.
For the past several years I have given up any form of coffee and alcohol. These were both really good practices for me—however, this year I am choosing to devote myself to the study of the Gospel of Luke – and to write along with it. This is just one way of putting repentance into practice.
How will you personally be putting repentance into practice this Lent?
GNG’s Family Worship Gathering - An invitation to share in the story of Lenten practice in community:
We welcome you and others you might know who are thirsting for a deeper community to gather with us as a worshiping family. Throughout the next 46 days of Lent we will be putting repentance into practice by entering the upside-down Kingdom of God together through 3 dimensions: In, Up, and Out: All of which reflect the heart of Lent’s fast:
i. In: Growing together as we share affirmations of faith through our brokenness and woundedness.
ii. Up: Growing closer to God as he meets us in the midst of struggles and suffering.
iii. Out: Growing closer to our neighbors in the places we live, work and play in weakness and powerlessness.
We also look forward to sharing together the sacrament of baptism — the sign and seal of the new covenant — as we welcome little Augustin Kas into the covenant of Jesus and God’s people. We plan to do this Saturday night as part of an Easter Vigil.