Be Counter to the Culture This Lent

Many worry that the culture has moved further and further from the Christian faith, so that we may become irrelevant. I think it could be a blessing.

The American way of life often has been different from the Christian way of life, but we pretended otherwise. I lived in Mississippi for nearly 10 years and met people who hated African-Americans yet proudly went to church on Sunday. Materialism as a signpost for success is not exactly what the homeless man who died for us intended.

Today we have an opportunity to be noticeably different from the culture, and that’s good as long as we are different in a Christian way. Hate is never the Christian way.

It’s Ash Wednesday, and we’re starting the season of Lent. I’m blessed to have a church that has a moving and effective church service this day. For years, I didn’t so I created one at home. Here’s the ceremony should you need it:

  • Burn a list of your sins, a palm frond or an evergreen in a bowl to make ashes.
  • Open with this prayer: Let us ask our Heavenly Father to bless these ashes which we will use as a mark of our repentance. Lord, bless these ashes. Wearing them reminds us that we are from the dust of the Earth. Pardon our sins and keep us faithful to the resolutions that we have made for Lent. Help us to prepare well for the celebration of your Son’s glorious resurrection. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
  • Mark your loved one’s foreheads, saying “Turn away from sin, and be faithful to the gospel.”
  • Close with this prayer: Loving Father, today we start Lent. From today, we make a new start to be more loving and kind. Help us to show more concern for the less fortunate, the hungry and the poor. Help us to love you more and speak to you more often. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

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