“God is into calendar.” Â –Â Don Finto
From the beginning of the institution of formal worship in the Old Testament, God has used the rhythms, patterns and seasons of life to engage His people. As we chose to draw near to Him, He reveals more of Â Himself to us.
We observe special days and seasons because they focus our attention on specific aspects of the story of God and our part in in it. Active participation in re-enacting the story of God is part of our spiritual formation.
Last year my wife and I attended our first Ash Wednesday service, complete with smudging our foreheads with … real ashes. The scripture readings based on Psalm 51, the guided prayers of repentance, the music all led to a powerful and meaningful experience. This year I’ll be part of leading the music team for an Ash Wednesday observance.
Glen Packiam explains how following the sacred calendar shapes our spirituality in this great articleÂ on Ash Wednesday, Lent and the modern use of liturgical practices.
“So, the liturgical year is not a requirement, but neither are they “empty rituals.”Â They are sacred rhythms, routines that reinforce our desire to follow Christ and become like Him. They are helpful ways to center our lives on Christ. They create the space for His Spirit to shape us. And they are a powerful rememinder that we are not the first to follow Christ, nor are we the only ones attempting to do so. “
During Lent, the 46 day period from Ash Wednesday until Resurrection Sunday (Easter), many Christians around the world will fast, pray and serve. Â So as we prepare to enter the Lent season, my prayer for you is to take advantage of the season and participate in a way meaningful to you.Â
Recommended resources: Ancient Future Worship: Proclaiming and Enacting God’s NarrativeÂ and Ancient Future Time: Forming Â Spirituality Through the ChristianÂ YearÂ by Robert Webber