Matthew 6:1-34 ESV“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season, is nearly upon us. As we go into this part of the year, I always try to think of what would truly be a sacrifice to give up for 40 days, and whether it is something I could realistically stick to for the entire time.
As the verse above states, whatever you abstain from during Lent isn't something to be public knowledge, and certainly isn't a bragging rights ideal. Lent is a time of reflection, repentance and reminding us of how close God is, if we would only turn and see Him next to us.
I am considering trying to find an Ash Wednesday service that I can attend during my lunch or sometime during my work day. Do you attend Lenten services? Total newbie question, but are there services other than on Ash Wednesdays?
Observing Lent is pretty new to me, as of the last few years, but I really, really appreciate it as an adult in a way that I don't think I would have as a younger me. I find the practice and observation of things like this to be very soothing, and the meditation aspect is something I've always really enjoyed. I feel that meditation and prayer are very close, and I feel very close to God during meditation, because I'm able to quiet my thoughts more and be open to listen. At the same time, it also allows the base desire or worry that's been underlying everything finally come to the surface. Being able to pinpoint that type of feeling is such a relief.
Do you observe Lent? How long have you done so? Do you find it a vital part of your faith? Why or why not?
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