Coffee & Ashes…

I led my first Ash Wednesday service yesterday. It was a very cool experience teaching teenagers the value of tradition and liturgy by leading them through it. Tradition and liturgy preach a beautiful message on their own, so for a preacher (which i claim as one of my many labels) it’s very cool to not only preach a message but lead people through activities and practices that proclaim their own message of good news.

Our liturgy this Ash Wednesday was kinda a compilation of a few different liturgies that I found, some old - some newer or at least contemporized but all very valuable for us.
(The Book of Common Prayer was a primary source for sure.) 

The service was at Central Church of the Nazarene in Lenexa Kansas for their student ministry group, The Fifth Element. My buddy Cory Stipp is the youth pastor at this church and decided if he could get out work, out of planning a service he was all over it, I was in town so I kinda volunteered.

We did some cool practices during the service; the practices of silence, the blessing and imposition of ashes, we participated in communion, and read through a litany of penance, among other things. You can actually check out our while Lenten liturgy on the CSRevolution LENT page., then click on the order of service link (or just click here). So yea it was a valuable service for me and I believe for the students.

One of the things commonly done during the Lenten season is the giving up or the taking on of certain habits or common consumptions. For instance, Catholics regularly give up meat during the Lenten season and taking on the practice of service, typically to the poor or underprivileged is another common practice of lent.

For me, it’s coffee, meat and the taking on of a 7:00 O’ clock wake up call for the purpose of prayer and lent readings (and if you know me, 7 is really crapping early!). But I am looking forward to this 40 days (46 six to be exact) of repentance and preparation, getting read for Easter Sunday and celebrating the empty tomb.  This is a the journey we all find ourselves on, in many ways all to often but a journey that is important and valuable non-the less. Just to be clear, this journey is through the wilderness, through times and repentance and preparation and to the empty tomb of Christ where death is conquered, sin is defeated and victory is accomplished. I need that journey to the empty tomb often, I need this yearly reminder of my frailty and Christ’s victory… I need these rhythms of life, tradition of the Church. I am excited about the season.

With ashes and without coffee…
~~Erik