Sue Tanida is a Christian and lifelong intuitive. Her blog, Angelic Insights, is about angels, animals, and God’s love for all of us.
This Wednesday, millions of Christians will attend church to commemorate the beginning of Lent. The traditional observances, dating back to the 10th century, are observed by the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican/Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal (“AME”), United Methodist, and Presbyterian as well as other Reformed churches.
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21, the customary gospel reading, with its admonition against public piety may strike some as contradictory. After all, the liturgy for Ash Wednesday usually includes inscribing a cross with ashes on the forehead of each congregant.
For me, however, the passage from Matthew actually helps highlight Lent as a time to renew one’s faith—a time of renewed prayer, fasting, charity, and a time of reflection on Jesus’ redemptive suffering.
I’m comfortable with hearing the gospel reading and then receiving ashes as a symbol of repentance and mortality because the scripture passage is all about cultivating an interior experience of faith rather than impressing others. I receive ashes to honor the fact that I am mortal and my body will return to dust one day, but thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus, my soul will go on. What about you?