Lent - Day 1: It Begins with Ashes

Today is Ash Wednesday.

This is the day that marks the beginning of a 40 day journey of contemplation, prayer, and fasting.

It is on this day that we receive communion and the imposition of ashes reminding us that we are dust and to dust we will return.

This day begins the season of Lent, the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter (excluding the Sundays). The Directory of Worship for the Presbyterian Church USA says that Lent is "a season of spiritual discipline and preparation, beginning with Ash Wednesday, anticipating the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ."

I would like to invite us all to be intentional about our journey this season. May our hearts be open, our minds be clear, our spirits challenged, and our lives renewed as we walk these 40 days together.

Each day throughout the season of Lent I will post a short passage of scripture from the daily lectionary (different than the passages posted on the 3 Minute Experiment) and a suggested activity for the day that will hopefully help set these days apart (this is not an original idea - a post on the website of The House for All Sinners and Saints has inspired this approach to Lent).

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Psalm 51
[1]   Have mercy on me, O God,
          according to your steadfast love;
     according to your abundant mercy
          blot out my transgressions.
[2]   Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
          and cleanse me from my sin.

[3]   For I know my transgressions,
          and my sin is ever before me.
[4]   Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
          and done what is evil in your sight,
     so that you are justified in your sentence
          and blameless when you pass judgment.

[5]   Indeed, I was born guilty,
          a sinner when my mother conceived me.

[6]   You desire truth in the inward being;
          therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
[7]   Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
          wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
[8]   Let me hear joy and gladness;
          let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
[9]   Hide your face from my sins,
          and blot out all my iniquities.

[10]  Create in me a clean heart, O God,
          and put a new and right spirit within me.
[11]  Do not cast me away from your presence,
          and do not take your holy spirit from me.
[12]  Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
          and sustain in me a willing spirit.

[13]  Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
          and sinners will return to you.
[14]  Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
          O God of my salvation,
          and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.

[15]  O Lord, open my lips,
          and my mouth will declare your praise.
[16]  For you have no delight in sacrifice;
          if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
[17]  The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
          a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

[18]  Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
          rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
[19]  then you will delight in right sacrifices,
          in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
          then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Pray for those who need to be forgiven.

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