Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ashes to Ashes








I had a friend in college who gave up his mattress for Lent.

The beds in our dorm were basically fluffy mattresses on top of wooden boxes.

So, for 40+ days he slept on a wooden box.

We thought he was crazy, but he asserted that in his "sufferings" he was identifying with Christ, who suffered on our behalf.

Today is Ash Wednesday, which begins Lent, the forty days (minus Sundays) before Easter, during which time, we remember Christ who suffered on our behalf; Christ, who gave up (for a time) his throne in Heaven; Christ, who left his home, becoming human; Christ who lived sinlessly and  yet died a sinner's death, taking upon himself the full wrath of God toward sin.


During the season of Lent, Christians around the world give up certain things, sacrificing comfort, pleasure and vice in hopes of identifying more with Christ...the greatest sacrifice of all, who sacrificed Himself for us.

There are a few themes that accompany this time, (this list is by no means exhaustive):
Sadness - because we remember the death of our Lord.
Repentance - because it was my sin that put Him to death.
Contrition - because I often take this for granted or make light of His holiness.
Temptation - because as Christ was tempted in the desert, we are tempted.
Sacrifice - so that I might understand, even in a small way, today, what He did for me.
Hope - because we know that in the end, Christ rises on the 3rd day, as he promised, and that He will come again...as He promised.

"The tradition of Lent...is one way of mourning the death that sin has caused in our lives."


I have decided to give up coffee for Lent this year.
It's a small thing...but it's a small thing that I love.
I will feel this "sacrifice" mentally, emotionally and physically.

I will be participating in the tradition of "mini-feasts" on Sundays throughout Lent, meaning that on that day, in remembrance and celebration of the Resurrection, I will not be fasting from coffee.

Looking back, my friend wasn't crazy...he was inspiring, forward thinking.
An ascetic, in the best way. He gave up something that I still couldn't don't want to give up.


GraceAndPeace.

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