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Lent a Time for Preparation: Ash Wednesday
Lent began on Ash Wednesday 5 March; a time when we reflect on preparation for Easter. It recalls the forty days that Jesus spent praying and fasting in the wilderness. It is a time to be more aware of God and to listen to God. A time to focus on what is really going on in your life. A time to focus on others. On Ash Wednesday our foreheads are marked with ashes in the sign of the cross. These signal our recognition of wrongdoing and that we say sorry to God and others; we make a new start.
During Lent we prepare for Easter, when we will celebrate the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. And recall the sacrifice just like Jesus did so many years ago on that dreadful hill, Calvary.
Our Lenten journey focuses on three things;
During Lent Jesus wants us to ask the question “How can I do something about the needs of others?” He wants us to give up some of our time and what we own during Lent. This can involve helping out at home, being good to the sick, visiting the elderly or helping to raise money for the poor through campaigns such as Caritas.
During Lent we try to get closer to God. So why don’t you try having a chat with him? Prayer is about talking to God. You can pray in thanks for everything God has given you, you can pray to God for help when you need him or you can pray for others. During Lent we try to give more time to God in our lives through prayer.
During Lent we try to ‘give up’ something just as Jesus did in the desert. We make a sacrifice for God and we try to resist temptation. By doing this we strengthen our relationship with God as we prepare for the important feast of Easter.
On Wednesday 5 March, we, as a community celebrated Ash Wednesday. Our RE teachers and Homeroom mentors prepared us for this very special event. Our services took place in homerooms where we stopped and reflected on how we were going to prepare for Easter. It was clear from the outset that this was going to be a special Ash Wednesday; a moment where we asked how we could become better people. As we entered our homerooms, the first difference I noticed was the fact that the desks were arranged in a circle and there was a candle in the middle of the classroom. The tone was set.
Key to the theme of Ash Wednesday is the distribution of Ashes, a symbol of repentance. As we received the ashes, we accepted God’s gentle rebuke to “turn away from sin and turn to God”.