Smudges with Meaning

Pathway Points

Stepping Up for Jesus

Last week, I introduced Lent as a time of introspection and reflection in preparation for Easter. We as Christians use this time to focus on our need for a Savior—our sinful natures, His perfection; our stubborn grip on earthly things, His patient pursuit of us anyway. One of the ways that we can do that is by using a devotional to guide our Bible reading, thoughts, and prayers. (Hint, hint…pick one up at the Welcome Center on Sunday.) 

One thing you’ll notice about all the devotionals that are for Lent is they all start on Ash Wednesday. We’ll get to the “Ash” part in a moment, but why Wednesday? Well, Lent is 40 days long, so if you count backwards from Easter (not counting Sundays which are “mini-Easters” where we celebrate the resurrection each week) you land on a Wednesday. The 40 days represents the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness being tempted by the devil before he began his earthly ministry.

Now for the “Ash” part. “In the Bible, sprinkling oneself with ashes was traditionally a sign of one’s sorrow for having committed sins.” (Ash Wednesday) As the pastor makes the sign of the cross on your forehead with ashes, he’ll say something like “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” and “Repent, and believe the gospel.” The first is a reminder of our mortality and the reason for it, Adam and Eve’s sin and expulsion from the Garden. The second is a reminder that we can never make things right on our own, but through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, He has done so for us. (Why ashes?)

Join me each week as we dig a little deeper into this holiday season and what Easter really means. Also, be on the lookout for Lenten Devotionals coming this Sunday to a Welcome Center near you!

Stepping up with you in His strength!

Monica Lebsack

Creative Ministries Director

At Grace, one of my responsibilities is to publish a weekly article in our e-newsletter, GraceNotes, about discipleship. Specifically, about the various components of our Discipleship Pathway and how a person could journey along it. This is my most recent article.
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