Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Tonight we will be setting up the branches that will hold our the ornaments which go along with the daily Lenten devotional we use. It's the same every year. We spend 40 days walking through the arc of the entire Bible story, ending with the resurrection on Easter.
I wanted to give a short plug for following the liturgical year with your family. If you are from Catholic, Orthodox, or Reformed Christian traditions, this idea is probably already familiar to you. If you are from an Evangelical tradition not associated with one of the Reformed denominations, I have a feeling the idea of following the liturgical, or church, year at church is a bit foreign, much less observing it with your family. I personally feel we lose so much when we cut ourselves off from our history. Whether we think about or acknowledge it, we all have ties to the early church and early church history and the practices of the liturgical year are very old. It is a way to tie ourselves to our history as well as deepening our faith and spiritual life. We don't do it because it is somehow a requirement or because we need to, but because it helps us to focus on what is important. When we orient our lives around the church calendar, it reminds us of the things which are of first importance. As Kimberlee Conway Ireton writes in, The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year:
The Church year is another way God reaches into time to draw us to himself. In living each year the mystery of our faith -- Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again -- we open ourselves to receive a deeper understanding of that mystery, a deeper appreciation of the depth of God's sacrificial love for us, a deeper gratitude for the manifold ways and places God works and plays in our lives.Here are some links to past posts about our lenten devotions.
List of devotional verses
Picture of ornaments
And a link to a past post I wrote a while ago for our church's blog that was kept during lent.