Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ash Wednesday and Lenten Lights

Ash Wednesday and Lenten Lights

From Treasuring God in Our Traditions:
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the long season of Lent. Lent comes from an Old English word that means lengthen, signifying that the days are getting longer because Spring is here.

Traditionally Lent is a season of sober, realistic reflection on our own lives and our need for a Savior. It is a time for turning away from anything that has kept us from God and for turning or returning to him. It is a time to pray that God renew our love for him and our dependence on him.

Lent is a season of waiting. In that sense it is like Advent. But while Advent waits eagerly for the appearance of the Savior, Lent waits, with heavy responsibility, for his death. The light of the Advent candles grows brighter as we approach the Savior’s arrival. In Lent, all grows darker as we draw nearer to the unthinkable—the death of God.

To symbolize this, we can begin Lent with seven lighted candles. On the first Sunday, one is snuffed out. On the second Sunday, the second candle is extinguished, and so on until Good Friday, when the last one is darkened. It is as if we have seen sin growing in power and finally crucifying the Light of the world, leaving us in darkness. But John 1:5 assures us, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

On Easter morning, all the candles shine triumphantly. The darkness cannot kill the Light.

Lenten Lights is a collection of devotions I wrote for us to use at our house with the Lenten candles. It includes directions for using it once a week during Lent or, if you choose, using it daily during Holy Week.

No comments:

Blog Archive