This past Wednesday began the season of Lent. I didn’t grow up in the Catholic or Lutheran church, so Wednesday was another day on the calendar. Nothing more. I saw a few people with an ashen cross marking their foreheads at work. I remembered that meant that Easter wasn’t that far away.
I know there are people who faithfully give up chocolate, social media, red meat, coffee and the like for the forty days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. While I do not want to belittle what may be a real sacrifice for them, I wonder still at the heart of the matter.
Why are we giving up something as we prepare for Easter? Is it piety? Is it tradition? Is it to show others how devout you really are in your faith? Where is it written that we need to give up things to show our faith? Haven’t we already done that if we have fully accepted Christ into our heart and lives?
When I said yes to Christ, I said no to selfishness, for He was selfless for my sake.
When I said yes to God’s grace, I said no to trying to follow all the laws, presumptions, and beliefs of others.
When I said yes to God’s mercies, I said no to holding grudges and trying to make people pay for the hurt they caused me.
When I said yes to Christ, I said no to following my own plans and time line, to trying to figure it out on my own.
When I said yes to Jesus, I said yes to the love and grace, mercy and joy that comes from the very Throne of Heaven.
I respect the centuries-old tradition of Ash Wednesday, but for me, I need to approach each day as Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday combined. My heart needs to remember what Jesus gave up for me and who I am because of what He gave up for me. So I am going to give it up every day, not just twice in the spring.
I am going to give up my heart, my song, my story, all to Jesus. And this can be your story, your song, too. It’s all about what your heart is willing to give up, Best Beloved. Let us walk into this season and celebrate what our lives are thanks to Jesus’ death and resurrection to cover all of our sins.
This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior, all the day long.