Ash Wednesday begins a Season of Prayer

Eric Costanzo

Beginning this week, Christians around the world will be observing the beginning of the Lenten season with a time of deep reflection and repentance. The roots of Lent date back to some of the earliest days of the Church. Lent is observed with anticipation of our celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. Rather than reflecting on Christ’s death and resurrection for a day or even a week, Ash Wednesday and Lent give us a structure and a discipline to reflect intentionally for 40 days.

Ashes, along with sackcloth, are the most common sign of repentance throughout Scripture. We think of Job, David, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and the people of Nineveh (Jonah) with such symbols. The 40 days of Lent, usually accompanied with a fast of some kind, represent Jesus’ fasting and temptation by Satan during His 40 days in the wilderness (Matthew 4, Luke 4).

This Wednesday, February 26, we will once again offer community-friendly Ash Wednesday services at three different times – 11:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, and 6:30 p.m. The services will be around 15 minutes long, with time at the end for optional silent meditation.

The applying of ashes to the forehead (from palm branches used the previous Palm Sunday) is a traditional part of the service to “mark” the beginning of a season of fasting and reflection on Christ’s death. The marking of ashes is completely optional, and anyone is welcome to simply come and participate in the service.

We do not see this as ritual, but rather relational. This year, rather than focusing on “giving something up,” we will focus on a very important spiritual discipline we all need to increase – prayer. Our services will also be a time of worship, with Scriptures from the Old and New Testaments as our liturgy.

On the first Sunday of Lent (3/1/2020), we will begin a new series entitled, “The Prayers of Jesus.” What better way for us to strengthen our focus on prayer during this season than to study and meditate on the actual words of Jesus’ own prayers?

We hope you will join us and pray with us during this season of Lent at South Tulsa!

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