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The beginning of Lent

There is something powerful that happens on Ash Wednesday in my mind and spirit. I can be going through the motions of the day, and suddenly I am reminded of my death, I am reminded that I came from dust, and one day I will return.

The powerful experience of having a pastor look into your eyes and tell me that I am dust is one that really rocks me to the core. A lot of people miss out on this experience because many churches never emphasize that this piece is important. But for me, the resurrection cannot happen without it. There have been a few times where I haven't made it to an Ash Wednesday service and it has changed my whole perspective on the season of Lent during that year.

I think for a lot of people, they miss out on the understanding of the season of Lent because they don't really see these rituals as important. And really, to each his own, but if you've never attended an Ash Wednesday service, you probably should at some point in your life.

Normally I take something up for Lent, and usually it is a really obvious thing, but this year something different has been on my heart. My youth director when I was in high school would fast from Maundy Thursday until Easter morning every year. Well I decided to give that a shot and also plan to fast on Fridays during Lent. I even have a support system because last night I was talking to a friend who had decided to do the same thing. I think that the spiritual discipline of fasting is one that can be really revelatory and I figure now is as good at any time to commit to trying it out.

Of course tomorrow is the first test of my fasting on Fridays because I'm headed down to camp with 14 teenagers. I'll manage all right but it will certainly be tempting with food floating around the van and a fast food stop on the way down. I have a feeling that breakfast on Saturday won't be a missed meal like it sometimes is at camp...

I'm hoping it is a good experience and that I get a lot out of it, but it will certainly be a challenge, but one that I'm ready for.
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