Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, 46 days before Easter. Different Christian traditions emphasize different aspects during Lent. Lent symbolizes the 40 days of Jesus fasting in the desert, 40 days before Jesus is arrested. It is a preparation for Easter, repentance for the brokenness of humanity, our sin, and a time of prayer and solidarity with Jesus.
For the next 6 Wednesdays my hope is to post a simple devotional based on a Psalm with the goal of leading us into a place of repentance, solidarity with Jesus, resistance and liberation—we have been set free and can now participate in helping others be set free. All bible passages are from the New Revised Standard Version.
Lent Week 1: We are with the King
Read Psalm 20
Thought: As we begin Lent, this Psalm reminds us of the end: God is victorious. It is easy to feel overwhelmed at the pain of the world. Wars, droughts, natural disasters, disease, death, environmental changes, homelessness, persecution. It is also easy to feel helpless, out of control and insignificant. This week as Lent begins ask this question: Who is your King? There are two significant pieces to this.
Application: Have you had an experience or a time when you can look back to with assurance and say “I am God’s”? Do you have assurance of God’s love for you? Do you know whose you are? This week in Lent, may our prayer be recalibrate our identity, to remember who and whose we are.
If you do not have assurance of God’s love for you then try this. Sit down and place your hands out in front of you palms facing down. This symbolizes letting go of whatever is burdening you whether it is mistakes, problems, shame. Name it out loud or in your head. This is similar to repentance. Then turn your hand over. Ask Holy Spirit to come and fill you, to rest on you, to speak over you truth about who and whose you are. Pay attention to the first things that pop in your head. If it helps take time to write down what you heard. Don’t filter, write it all down. Then later you can go back to decide if you made it up or if Holy Spirit was talking to you. Too often we filter as we go and we make it harder to hear from God.
Conclusion: These 40 days of preparing for Easter, pay attention to the thoughts and feelings you have regarding whose you are. When shame, fear, anger washes through you ask Holy Spirit to replace it with the truth. In order to partner with God in bringing God’s kingdom, in order to discern what God is saying it is important to first know we are loved and that we are loved by the God of the universe who has the final say.
 History of Lent by Fr William Saunders at http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/history-of-lent.html
Ali Millikan, Author
I love Father, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit. I love my husband and kids. I believe that God is in the room with us; that hearing God's voice is for everyone and that it will change your day to day reality.