GSFA Devotional: Bread for Our Journey
Lenten Devotion (1)
22 February 2023
Reading: Matthew 6:33
Today is Ash Wednesday and this marks the beginning of the season of Lent. In the Anglican Tradition Lent is a time of penitence, fasting, and prayer, in preparation for the great feast and celebration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on Easter.
The season of Lent began in the early days of the Church as a time of preparation for those seeking to be baptized at the Easter Vigil. It often said that Lent is a season of forty days and these refer to our Lord Jesus’ time of fasting in the wilderness. Since Sundays are never fast days, the Lenten fast begins on Ash Wednesday and continues all the days of the week except Sundays.
Throughout the Old Testament, ashes are used as a sign of sorrow, remorse, and repentance. Throughout the years Christians have used ashes to indicate sorrow for our own sin, and also as a reminder that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Like Adam and Eve, each of us has disobeyed and rebelled against God, and are under the same judgment, “you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). On Ash Wednesday we are marked with ashes on our forehead in the same manner that we were signed with the Cross in Baptism, As Christians we have the hope that the Apostle Paul writes: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).
In most of our Anglican liturgies for Ash Wednesday, we have words similar to this which the officiant says to the Congregation: I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent: by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and alms-giving; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. I hope you will take this exhortation seriously this Lent. Ask the Lord to reveal to you your sin and then repent of it (this is not easy). Spend more time in prayer. Try fasting a meal, a day of meals, or several days of meals, and use the time to spend with the Lord and in his Word, the Bible. Give a special offering to the Lord so that his Gospel may go forth to those who don’t know or may feed or help the needy in Jesus Name. Let this not just be another Lent this year, but a holy Lent -- with you and the Lord, and you and the Church.
The Most Revd Dr Foley Beach
Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)