Ash Wednesday

imageTonight, our church held its Ash Wednesday service to mark the beginning of the Lenten season. Our Pastor offered a time for the imposition of ashes on our forehead or hand. This is only the third time I have actually participated in the service. This is not a tradition you find in many Baptist churches. Some of my friends find it a little odd, some don’t quite understand the significance, others like myself, are stil working on embracing the symbolism. Growing up in a traditional Southern Baptist Church, I did not become acquainted with worship practices like Advent, Lent, Maundy Thursday and Ash Wednesday until I became a student of church music in college. I quickly came to love many of these facets of the liturgical year, mainly because they provided markers in the story of Jesus. They gave me a place to celebrate, to pause, to be contemplative and to draw me closer to my fellow worshippers and to my Lord.

Over the last few years, I have begun to embrace even more the Lenten season. I have been asked on occasion isn’t that a “Catholic” thing, and while the observance of Lent has its roots in the Catholic tradition, I think there is much that those of us who img_1045-3identify as Protestant can benefit from during this 40 day period. Many folks see Lent as a time to “give up something.” This comes from the idea that Lent is a period of reflection and repentance. Often times, repentance comes through prayer and fasting, so the idea of fasting from a pleasure during Lent will hopefully lead us to a place of greater understanding.

As I began to think about this, I came to the realization that more than anything, I want to give up destructive thinking. Not just destructive thinking about myself, which leads to poor self-esteem, but destructive thinking about others. I want my thoughts to be positive thoughts, edifying thoughts, ideas that build up and don’t tear down. I believe if I can give up destructive thinking, others can see Jesus more plainly in my life.

Can I encourage you to find something in the next 40 days that leads you to a positive place in your life? Can I encourage you to find your way closer to God in the next 40 days?

Selah

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About Tina Swaggerty Collins

Tina currently serves on staff at Ball Camp Baptist Church. A music graduate of Carson-Newman College, Tina has been active in church music ministry for over 30 years and is an ordained minister. She is the mother to two amazing grown children, who still allow her to be a nurturing mom from time to time. Her blog is an invitation to step into her life as a mom, a minister and a follower.
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