Dirty Foreheads and Clean Hearts

You might see some people with dirty foreheads today, because it is Ash Wednesday. For over 1,000 years Christians have marked the beginning of “Lent” – the 40 day period before Easter – by observing Ash Wednesday. (ashes are to remind us of the temporary nature of our lives)
As believers, we can have ashes put on our foreheads and miss the real meaning, or we can ignore Ash Wednesday as an empty ritual. Either way we are poorer spiritually.
The gift of Lent, and Ash Wednesday in particular, is that each year we are reminded to intentionally embrace the fact that we are not yet like Jesus, and we need his deep cleansing work in our lives. How can we use this time, part of the of the Church for millenia, to allow God to shape us at the soul level?
1. Take some moments today to ask God to show you where you need to repent. It may be a different answer than you think.
2. Fast once per week in Lent. Going without food fora spiritual reason can impact us long after we have started eating again. Use the time you’d eat for prayer and watch God work in and through you. You may notice sin’s grip is a little looser, and your prayer more impactful.
3. Serve someone else secretly during Lent.
Ash Wednesday reminds us we don’t have forever here on earth. Let’s pursue God today.