Welcome to Day 1 of our 40 day journey called the season of Lent.
The Anglican church begins their Ash Wednesday service with these words:
“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent: by self- examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and alms-giving; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.”
Each day, we’ll focus on a portion of the Biblical text, a Response, and a Prayer to take with you that can be ‘breathed’ through the day.
A SCRIPTURE ~ from Matthew 6
“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others…When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give…don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
“When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you…Don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Pray like this: “Our Father…”
“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting….” (from Matthew 6:1-18, NLT)
The Christian Season of Lent is an invitation to 40 days of renewal (Lent means “spring”) – 40 days to prepare ourselves to take in the Good News of the cross and resurrection through deeper disciplines of Scripture and prayer; fasting, and acts of compassion. Ashes are the traditional sign of sorrow and repentance and are also a sign of our mortality. (“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return”)
A PRAYER TO ‘BREATHE’ THROUGH THE DAY
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
[This prayer is known as the Jesus Prayer or the Prayer of the Heart.
More on the Jesus Prayer here.]