Ash Wednesday is the traditional beginning of Lent and a time during which Christians everywhere dedicate themselves to the last days of Jesus. Today, in churches of many denominations all over the world, believers will gather in somber recognition of the sacrifice Jesus would make for us. Many will mark the occasion by having ashes rubbed on their foreheads in the shape of the cross. The ashes are often palm branches from the previous year's Palm Sunday that were burned and saved. In many cases the minister will remind us that "from dust we came, and to dust we shall return." The entire service is a call to repentance. If you are able to attend an Ash Wednesday service at your place of worship, please do. It will provide a moving start to your adventure.
If you are unable to attend a service, then take time today to focus on being WIDE OPEN to the meaning of Lent. I call it being "Crosseyed'- keeping yourself aware of the cross of Christ and the resurrection that would follow. Assuming you don't have any ashes handy, I suggest that you take some sort of marker and mark yourself with the cross. Pray about the things in your life that you need to let go of- the things you REALLY need to repent of. Look at the mark of the cross on your body. Do people see the mark of Jesus on you everyday? What do you need to do over the next 40 days to make your life a testimony? Praise God for Jesus, and for the journey we are about to take together!