March towards Lent

The morning started like any other day for me, I was a retail manager and was getting the store ready to go for the day. I went and unlocked the door right @ 9am and greeted some of the anxious shoppers. A couple minutes later I went to my ‘perch’ as some of the employees would call it, and started to work on reports. Then I saw it…a person with a ash cross on their forehead. At first I thought it was some dirt or a weird shaped mole. I thought to myself; ‘well that’s weird,’ and went back to work. Then a couple minutes later I saw another person with the same thing. Before long I had seen dozens of people with the same thing. During this particular time I had been reading the Left Behind series and it had talked about the mark of Christians. I’ll be honest, I began to panic a little bit; ‘had I missed the rapture?’ Finally I pulled over one of my employees and asked him: ‘do you see anything strange about that person.’ They laughed and simply replied: “It’s Ash Wednesday.” Thankfully he explained what it meant.
From that experience I began to explore the practices to better understand what they were all about. What I found was a very beautiful and deeply rich observance of God. Case in point would be the observance of Lent. A period of roughly six weeks where believers prepare themselves for the coming of Christ through repentance and fasting. What could be better than that! Unfortunately what proceeds Lent is Fat Tuesday where you are allowed to be a glutton for a day so you can have as much as possible and make it through the next 6 weeks. At thus my exploration ended in disappointment the beautiful was traded for the ugly.
Let us not mix the Holy with the Common. Nor should we ‘gear’ ourselves up so we can make it through a period of fasting and repentance. We should check our hearts to ensure they are in the right place. What I see in Fat Tuesday is a people’s heart for the world more than for God. Shouldn’t we, as the Word tells us, live a fasted lifestyle? Shouldn’t we look less like the world and more like Christ. I don’t know about you but I don’t see Christ having a buffet before he was called to fast for 40 days. Are you so in love with the world that you’ve got to gorge yourself on it to make it through time with God?

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