Today is Ash Wednesday, which means we have now entered into the Season of Lent. If you are not from a church with a liturgical background Lent probably won’t mean much. In fact, for some it may even evoke some negative connotations. While I understand those sentiments, I wish they were not so. At least, I wish more Evangelical Christians would be open to the beauty and grace of this ecclesiastical season.
One of the primary emphases of the Season of Lent is repentance. On the ecclesiastical calendar it is a time when Christians are encouraged to fast, sacrifice, and to recognize how prone we are to become dependent upon things rather than on God. It is intended to be a time of reflection and renewed commitment to dependence upon the Lord. But in non-litugical circles Lent is ignored, if not even scoffed about. Contemporary Evangelicals often point to the deadness of ritualistic practice, and eschew it altogether.
I am not part of a litugical tradition. Nor am I necessarily encouraging everyone to embrace litugical practices. But I do believe there might be some benefits “normal” Believers might be able to glean from our litugical side of the Family of God. Maybe there are some things that we can consider that would break us out of our own dull routines. It seems to me that we may be able to engage in some practices without them necessarily leading to ritualistic deadness.
So weather you adorn your forehead with ashes today or not (and I won’t be), I hope you will give some thought to how you can spend the next 40 days in spiritual renewal. Below are a few short articles by guys from non-liturgical traditions about what they have learned and why they embrace this ecclesiastical season.