Ashes to Fire
Tomorrow, Lent begins. It’s a season of reflection and special devotion to God. If you have struggled to keep a daily appointment with God, there’s no better time to get back into a prayerful rhythm than to begin Ash Wednesday. The Church of the Nazarene has provided some great resources to help you on this journey. Ashes to Fire is a 14 week spiritual journey designed to draw you into a life of worship. Spiritual life is about much more than a daily “devotional” time. It’s about a life of devotion, where ordinary moments become transforming experiences of grace. It covers the period beginning tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, through Pentecost Sunday.
This year, NewHope will not be following the full A2F program, but the heart of it is the daily reflections book. It’s available as an ebook you can order from Amazon.com or as a printed book you can purchase. You can download a free document containing the first 12 daily reflections here. If you like what you see, you could order the book from nph.com or download the ebook from amazon.com to continue with it. I plan to use this guide as part of my spiritual journey. We will consider building our whole church experience around it next year.
Either way, this is Fat Tuesday when a lot of people gorge themselves ahead of Lenten self-denial (kind of undermines the whole sacrificial thing, eh?). This year, I’m not giving anything up temporarily for Lent. But I will use this whole season to reflect on the things God would want me to give up completely. By the end of this season (Easter weekend), I want to be closer to God and more in tune with God’s will for my whole life. So I’ll begin with some reflection time tomorrow, guided by the A2F ebook, and begin carving out more time for prayer. I’ll also give fresh attention to matters of obedience. The Apostle Paul, an early church leader and a New Testament author said the following: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:10-11
His decision to put knowing Christ above all else helped change the world. Lent begins in ashes remembering we are dust; nothing apart from God’s grace. The Easter season ends on Pentecost Sunday in God’s fiery, renewing presence. Take the time to seek God first this season. May it draw you closer to the Heart that beats forever in the rhythm of love.