Lent has begun, and Easter is coming! Today, on Ash Wednesday, we begin the somber, reflective season of Lent—a time to repent of our sin and look ahead to the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday through Lent (and on select special days throughout), you'll receive an email with Easter-themed Scripture, prayers, and/or other devotional reflections.
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. — The Book of Common Prayer
Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm on my holy hill.
Let all who live in the land tremble,
for the day of the Lord is coming.
It is close at hand—
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and blackness.
Like dawn spreading across the mountains
a large and mighty army comes,
such as never was in ancient times
nor ever will be in ages to come.
The following quote is from an Easter sermon by Friedrich Schleiermacher, an influential 19th-century theologian known as the "Father of Modern Protestant Theology." This quote, on the necessity of putting to death the "old man" of our sinful nature, is appropriate for Ash Wednesday:
Thus, my friends, we know what is the new life that is to be like the resurrection life of the Lord. A previous life must die; the apostle calls it the body of sin, the law of sin in our members, and this needs no lengthened discussion. We all know and feel that this life, which Scripture calls a being dead in sins, pleasant and splendid as may be the form it often assumes, is yet nothing but what the mortal body of the Saviour also was, an expression and evidence of the power of death, because even the fairest and strongest presentation of this kind lacks the element of being imperishable. Thus with the mortal body of the Saviour, and thus also with the natural life of man, which is as yet not a life from God. — "Christ's Resurrection An Image of Our New Life"
Many Christians opt to give up something for Lent—a particular habit, luxury, food, or activity. Are you giving up anything for Lent this year? Why or why not?