This coming Wednesday, February 21, is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season. Brian Orme, associate pastor at our Grace Brethren church in West Milton, Ohio, recently wrote this commentary for the Dayton (OH) Daily News:
Lent can recharge your faith
By Brian Orme
The Lenten season officially begins next week with Ash Wednesday. It’s the 40-day period preceding Easter, traditionally set apart by the church for a time of repentance, prayer and fasting.
On Ash Wednesday, many Christians will don cross-shaped ashes on their foreheads as a sign of public conviction and devotion to God. These ashes serve as a reminder that men and women are but dust and sinners in need of grace.
For the duration of the Lenten season many churchgoers will enter a “fast” from something like sweets, coffee or possibly an unhealthy habit, as a sign of commitment to Christ. These small sacrifices are symbolic of the greater suffering of Jesus leading up to the cross.
Other church members will spend added time in prayer and acts of service as a reminder of the passion and humility of Christ.
At St. Andrew United Methodist Church, 350 N. Fairfield Road, Beavercreek, the Rev. Deb Holder is preparing the church for a focus on prayer and a deepening conversation with God. The theme for St. Andrew during Lent will be “Connecting to God Through Prayer.”
“For me, it’s a chance to deepen my walk with Christ,” Holder says.
“I was raised this way, that during Lent I was supposed to give up something like chocolate or pop. But I’ve turned that around, and each year I focus on taking on something new that deepens my spiritual life.”
At Our Lady of the Rosary, 22 Notre Dame Ave., Dayton, the Rev. Michael Holloran appropriately describes Lent as a time to “Get your act together.”
Originally, Lent was a preparation period for those wanting to be baptized on Easter. The 40-day journey was a chance for all would-be Jesus followers to spend some time in self-evaluation before publicly identifying themselves as “Christians” at the Easter baptism.
At St. Joseph Church, 411 E. Second St., Dayton, the Rev. Louis Osterhage plans on guiding newcomers and church members through the stations of the cross.
These “stations” consist of devotionals and pictures that center on the passion of Christ leading through the crucifixion.
Osterhage says Lent is a time to help people focus on themselves, “to see where they may have gone astray and straighten out their lives once again — give them a chance to get recharged.”