Daily Thoughts – Ash Wednesday and Religion

Good Morning!

Lincoln

 Today is Old Abe’s birthday; the real birthday, not the national holiday one.  Did you know that on top of everything else we know about him, he is enshrined in the Wrestling Hall of Fame?

He lost only one match in 300.

Valentine's Dinner 2018 (2) Valentine's Dinner 2018

Thank you so much to all of you who joined us for the IGNITE Valentine’s Dinner last night.  The fire was going (on the tv), the waiters and waitresses were excellent, and the food was delicious!  Thanks so much to Drew Russell for giving his Sunday to cook.  Thanks to Keitha Thomson for the meat. Thanks to Chloe and Samantha Schaulis for the WONDERFUL dessert.  And thanks to all of YOU for supporting the kids and their mission work!

The kids made $1,100.00 towards their summer mission projects.  (There was this odd amount of change in the bag from the center table).

ash.wednesday.art_.

Ash Wednesday is this week.  There will be services at 7:00 am and 6:00 pm. in Gage Hall.

Your eyes will see the King in His beauty. Isaiah 33:17

Don’t let the noise of the world keep you from hearing the voice of God. –Author Unknown

So what is Ash Wednesday?

I have to tell you that when I was growing up (back in the days of dinosaurs – just ask the kids) the United Methodist Church didn’t have services on this day.  That was a Catholic thing.

We Americans like to think that what we do here in our part of the world is the way everyone does it. Not true, but first, let’s talk about what we do.

Fat Tuesday is the day to eat up all the rich, fatty foods before the fast begins.  Our tradition of eating pancakes comes from the same thing, while the name, Shrove Tuesday, comes from the word shrive – meaning absolution for sins by doing penance. Ash Wednesday, the day following Fat Tuesday, is considered a day to cleanse your soul before Lent begins.  Ashes are used to mark a cross on your forehead to symbolize repentence of sins.

Forty-six days before Easter in the Western Christian church, we begin the season of Lent.  According to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus spent forty days in the desert during which time he was tempted by Satan.  Lent is a reflection of that time.  Many Western Christians fast from Monday to Saturday for six weeks and Wednesday to Saturday the first week, making 40 days.  Orthodox Christians spend forty days straight.  Ashes come from last year’s palm branches and can be sprinkled on the head or form a cross on the forehead.

The Eastern Orthodox Church does not, in general, observe Ash Wednesday; instead, Orthodox Great Lent begins on Clean Monday.  There are, however, a small number of Orthodox Christians who follow the Western Ritual, observing Ash Wednesday, although often on a different day from the previously mentioned denominations, as its date is determined by the Orthodox calculation of Pascha (Passover), which may be as much as a month later than the Western observance of Easter.

Other Ash Wednesday observances from around the world (from the Huffington Post):

ENGLAND

England Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Rival teams ‘Up’ards’ and ‘Down’ards’ battle for the ball during the second day of the Royal Shrovetide Football match in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England. For two days, over Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, hundreds of participants battle it out in a ‘no rules’ game dating back to the 17th Century where the aim is to get a ball into one of two goals that are positioned three miles apart at either end of Ashbourne.

GERMANY

Germany PATRICK SEEGER via Getty Images

Members of the so-called ‘Geldwaeschergilde’ (money launderer guild) wash their wallets in a fountain as they mourn over the end of the carnival season on Ash Wednesday in Wolfach, southern Germany. In many cities and villages of southwestern Germany, carnival enthusiasts traditionally wash and dry the wallets they have emptied during the days leading up to Ash Wednesday.

BUDAPEST

 Budapest ATTILA KISBENEDEK via Getty Images

Christians wait in queue to receive ashes given by Father Attila Farkas (not pictured) during a mass in the St Stephan Basilica in Budapest, Hungary.

THE PHILIPPIANS

Philippians  TED ALJIBE via Getty Images

Roman Catholic faithful have their religious ornaments blessed by a bishop (not pictured) during Ash Wednesday services. The Philippines is Asia’s bastion of Catholicism, with over 80 percent of the more than 100 million population belonging to the faith.

Religion

Religion: the way we practice our faith.

Is one better than the other?

Does one make us closer to God than the other?

Our faith in God is the constant.  The way we practice that faith, with others who think as we do, is our religion.

In our United Methodist religion, we will impose ashes and pray on Wednesday, morning and evening.  In our religion, all are invited to join us

Please do!

Lord, may all that I do be praise for Your glory.

Make it a GREAT day!

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