Ash Wednesday

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    Ash Wednesday

    I've said previously that I'm ignorant when it comes to the other religions outside of my own which is Catholic. I am in Chattanooga tonight and went to Mass and the priest said that Catholics really roll out for Ash Wednesday. It's not a Holy Day of obligation yet the place was jammed.

    How do other religions observe Ash Wednesday?
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    Clyde---I do not know either. Ash Wednesday is a very special time. I am so very guilty to admit that this is the first time since my infant Baptism that I did not receive the Ashes. Most of my kids did--but I could not work out the logistics (with a spouse in a different continent for work).
    Days like today I am PROUD of the GIFT that my parents instilled in me (usually unwilling!) I tell my RELUCTANT kids--Someday you will be so GLAD you were GROUNDED, so grateful your parents made "it" a priority.

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    A little research led me to the answer. Lutherans and Anglicans pretty much always have observed Ash Wednesday and Methodists too to some degree. No one else really follows (besides the Catholic church, of course.)

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    Ash Wednesday is a unique day. It is the only day of the year where collectively a group of Christians - Catholics in this case - come out in the open about their faith. I enjoy all the odd looks I get walking around with the cross on my forehead. It baffles me how many people are oblivious to the whole tradition. My superior, who often lacks in withitness, took a few long looks at my forehead over the course of an hour before saying, "You have a mark all over your forehead." I just smiled and explained that I had been having some car trouble and must have rubbed up against my forehead when under the hood earlier that day. She bought it but I revealed what it meant later on in the day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Magic View Post
    A little research led me to the answer. Lutherans and Anglicans pretty much always have observed Ash Wednesday and Methodists too to some degree. No one else really follows (besides the Catholic church, of course.)
    Some Baptists are starting to observe Lent. When I did my Doctorate in the mid 90's, few if any Baptist Churches were observing Lent and even fewer were writing about those 40 days. (really 46 but who's counting ) My Doctorate was about Baptists recovering the tradition and observance of Lent from Ash Wednesday through Holy Week and into Easter.

    I'm proud to say that more Baptists are observing and writing about it than ever before and I hope the trend continues. (Not because of me mind you, Baptists are just starting to recognize that liturgical worship can be a great builder of the individual disciple)

    We observed an Ash Wednesday service last night for the 15th consecutive year. Each year we get a few more who begin their Lenten journey with us.

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    Someone tell me how/what purpose does it serve? Bug said where "they come out in the open about their faith". I know it leads to Easter and for 40 days you give up or do something, I guess my question is shouldn't we be open and give up something every day, not just during this time of the year? Just wondering, I can Google it I reckon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alabama Larry View Post
    Someone tell me how/what purpose does it serve? Bug said where "they come out in the open about their faith". I know it leads to Easter and for 40 days you give up or do something, I guess my question is shouldn't we be open and give up something every day, not just during this time of the year? Just wondering, I can Google it I reckon.
    Well Larry, if done the right way here are some thoughts from me:

    1) Lent affords us a time to recognize our sin and to deal with it through discipline, prayer and confession. With a focus on the Passion of Christ in these weeks we rediscover the price our sin has (Death of God's Son) and the need we have (Repentence for sin)

    2) Lent also can lead a church to recover the need to share in the Passion of Christ in our own lives individually and corporately.

    3) Lent also allows us to more fully come to understand the depths of God's love for us through Jesus' passion and thereby celebrate in an even greater way the Resurrection of Christ on Easter.

    4) As for Ash Wednesday, our journey must begin with remembering that we are but dust. We were created from the dirt of the earth and to the dirt we will return. The first step for the other to have meaning is recognizing our NEED for true confession and repentence.

    5) Concerning "giving up things:" I treat it as a discipline. I reminded my congregation last night that when you "give up something" don't see it as a victory that you refuse yourself this activity (chocolate, drink, meat, whatever) but embrace your relationship with Christ where those things are missing. My example was: When that chocolate bar is calling you in the check-out line, stop for a moment and realize that Christ is calling you beyond the chocolate rush and to come to him. Take that moment of clarity and embrace prayerfully that what we really crave is relationship with God.


    Hope that sheds some light on a Baptist twist to Lent. As to your question about "shouldn't we be doing that every day" I would ask: Do you celebrate Christmas? Easter? Why just once a year? Shouldn't we be doing that every day?

    The answer of course could be yes, but it's also that we have a "heightened" sense of those events during those "once a year" moments.

    From a traditional evangelical perspective, why not have Revival services every seek? Same principle IMO.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Alabama Larry View Post
    Someone tell me how/what purpose does it serve? Bug said where "they come out in the open about their faith". I know it leads to Easter and for 40 days you give up or do something, I guess my question is shouldn't we be open and give up something every day, not just during this time of the year? Just wondering, I can Google it I reckon.
    The simplest, shortest answer I can give is that it's about focusing on your humanity, and Jesus' sacrifice for us. It is a call for us to foucs for a specific time period to atone for our sins and to elevate our focus on sacrifice and discipline in our lives as a way of honoring Jesus' sacrifice for us.

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    And, what Hatz says. He got to it before me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockmom View Post
    And, what Hatz says. He got to it before me.
    Yes, but you said it with a certain "Reader's Digest" style compared to my answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockmom View Post
    The simplest, shortest answer I can give is that it's about focusing on your humanity, and Jesus' sacrifice for us. It is a call for us to foucs for a specific time period to atone for our sins and to elevate our focus on sacrifice and discipline in our lives as a way of honoring Jesus' sacrifice for us.
    But if you are a christain shouldn't that be 365 not just 40?

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    Thanks Hatz/RM for the imput. Bottom _______________Jesus is being in our thoughts!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alabama Larry View Post
    Someone tell me how/what purpose does it serve? Bug said where "they come out in the open about their faith". I know it leads to Easter and for 40 days you give up or do something, I guess my question is shouldn't we be open and give up something every day, not just during this time of the year? Just wondering, I can Google it I reckon.
    Ideally, yes, you're right Larry, we should all be outwardly open about our faiths and willing to give up things as signs of our conversions and commitment to God, but for the many who struggle with it, Ash Wednesday and Lent are a good time to try to re-center themselves and bring them closer to that ideal.

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    Colonel, I agree with you too, I have always heard of it as a child but we never did it.

    I was told by the Church Of Christ Preachers I debate that in the Bible having a time to honor the Birth of Christ/Easter is not anywhere in the Bible, and therefore it is a sin to do it. I'm serious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woodsrider View Post
    But if you are a christain shouldn't that be 365 not just 40?
    Yes. But see Hatz's explanation. This is an enhanced focus.

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