By Molly Komolfske
Ash Wednesday constitutes my favorite season in the church year — Lent. For many, this may seem somewhat morbid. Lent is not necessarily a time for outbursts of joy. It is a time to reflect, to contemplate, and to be spiritually disciplined. None of those things sound extremely fun. Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent by reminding each one of us that we have come from the dust and we will someday return to the dust. The season starts by telling us how fragile we are! It tells us of our beginning and our end. Then, we wait. We anticipate Jesus’ death on the cross so we can mourn appropriately. For many, Lent is a time to be intentional and take on a spiritual discipline. For some, this means fasting from something such as food, television, Facebook, etc. For others, this is a time to pick up a spiritual discipline such as reading through a book of the Bible, or practicing service and generosity. We do these things because, in some universal way, they draw us closer to God. They help us understand sacrifice. They give us time to reflect on the fact that God is God, and we are not.
Molly Komolfske is a senior majoring in religion & philosophy.
By Lucas McConnell
A pertinent question may arise for the conscious observer of Lent: When did giving up soda pop and chocolate become relevant to this holy Christian season? Simply put, the idea of “giving something up” is a response to the common Lenten practice of fasting. Fasting as a religious discipline can serve as an act of reliance on God, focusing on God, and an emulation of Jesus’ own wilderness fast prior to his Gospel ministry.
All too commonly, however, I see the Lenten fast turning into a time to kick bad habits, try out a new diet, or have one final go at a botched New Year’s resolution. This superficial observance of Lent plows over the much more somber and reflective nature of the season. Placing ashes on one’s forehead during Ash Wednesday is a sign of repentance and remembrance. Lent is an opportunity to cultivate one’s spiritual life by taking on a spiritual discipline such as prayer, scripture reading, or worship.
Lent can be a time of preparation, reflection, and even change – but only if one looks for the deeper meaning behind the Lenten fast; the meaning that pulls the focus off the individual adopting a discipline and places the focus on God and ones relationship with God.
Lucas McConnell is a senior majoring in religion & philosophy.