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I want to touch on somewhat of a possible sensitive subject for some people but important to me. Today is Ash Wednesday. Being raised in a Lutheran household, I knew the traditions behind Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Lent and Easter. It wasn't until recently I discovered what they really MEAN.
Ash Wednesday, According to Christian tradition, in the Western Christian calendar, is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days (40 days not counting Sundays) before Easter. It is a moveable fast, falling on a different date each year because it is dependent on the date of Easter. It can occur as early as February 4 (February 5 on leap years) or as late as March 10.
Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered after the palms or Palm Crosses from the previous year's Palm Sunday are burned.
This practice is common in much of Christendom, being celebrated by Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Anglicans
*source is Wikepedia*
My husband who has been to an Ash Wednesday service, has never been to one like a Lutheran one that involves real ashes and the whole 9 yards. He's kind of excited to go with me tonight I think. We're really getting in touch with our spiritual side and finding a compromise between us. I'm very traiditonal(obv. being Lutheran, ha!) and he's much more contemporary(Southern Baptist). We found a local Lutheran church who offers a "blended" and "contemporary" service. The contemporary was a bit much for me, but something I could live with. We're going to try their blended service this weekend to see if it's a good fit. We're on the same level spiritually, but regarding religion, we're polar opposites. So hopefully we found something that's in the middle for us.
For lent, we give up something that is a sacrifice for us to help us somewhat relate to the sacrifice Jesus made for us. This year, I have given up the drive thru. I've also given up buying bottled drinks/coffee/snacks at gas stations. This will be HARD because of my job. I stop for gas every other day because of my 1 hr commute one way, we constantly stop at gas stations or fast food places when we're out on the job. But I know it can be done and it's not nearly the sacrafice that our Lord made. Today(and Good Friday) I will fast, as is tradition. Some Catholics/Lutherans will eat one large meal on days they fast but those meals won't consist of meat, I'm going to fast completely. Go big or go home! I also will not eat meat on Fridays(another tradiiton) but still eat fish. Have you ever wondered why this time of year all the fast food places start selling lots of fish? McDonalds has their 2 fish filets for $2.22, Burger King has $1 fish sandwichs. They know their market, they know that we are in the Lent time of the year and they will sell a TON of fish on Fridays. They're smart those marketing people!
So, I hope I taught you something you didn't know, and I'd love to hear what you're giving up for Lent(if anything)!