Dear New Horizon Family,
On this very special Ash Wednesday I share with you our UMC summary of this Holy time and look forward to this journey together.
“Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten Season. It was authorized by the First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE. According to Christian scholars, Lent is a bi-directional season. Or at least it should be. That isn’t how we usually experience the season, however. Too often, we see the Lenten journey simply as a journey inward. It is a self-reflective time, an inward self-examination guided by the question Methodists have asked since the beginnings of the movement: “How is it with your soul?” A powerful and important question, to be sure, and Lent is the perfect time to take this inward journey and to spend some time in solitude and reflection. While that is a great start or an important component to a powerful Lenten experience, it can’t be the whole story. Examining your soul is more than just looking inward; it is also considering the state of your soul as it walks about in the world. How goes your soul – which is saying, “How do you live in the world around you? How do you impact, or better, how does your faith impact your community, your church, your family?” This isn’t new. Historically, the church has talked about the spiritual disciplines in two directions. There were works of piety or what we might call the inward attention to ourselves, and there were works of charity or the outward living and working in the world around us. Like the great commandment, these two sides of the same coin cannot ultimately be separated. That is why this series is about doing both – looking inward and moving outward. We are learning to live inside out. Ash Wednesday was not considered to be a biblical requirement, but the practice of repenting in dust and ashes accompanied by fasting can be found in Esther 4:1, Job 42:6, Jonah 3:5-6, and Daniel 9:3-4.”