Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, the seventh Wednesday before Easter Sunday, and it is the first day of the Season of Lent. Its name comes from the ancient practice of placing ashes on worshippers’ heads or foreheads as a sign of humility before God, a symbol of mourning and sorrow at the death that sin brings into the world. This is a somber day of reflection on what needs to change in our lives if we are to be fully Christian.

Fasting, or going without something, has long been associated with Lent. So I wondered yesterday, “What distracts me or takes my attention? What occupies space that could be given to reflection? What can I give up that would help me ponder what needs to change in me to be more like Christ?” The answer was easy: FACEBOOK.

In spite of how useful FB has been in connecting me with old friends and family members, I’ll confess it is the biggest distraction in my day. Sometimes on slow afternoons at the coffee shop Facebook feels like a needful distraction. But most of the time it keeps me from listening to the people who are right in front of me and prohibits me from reading anything meaningful or challenging.

So for forty days I won’t know if you lost a sheep in farmville, got whacked in mafia wars, if it was your birthday, who you became friends with, what cause you joined, or if you found a fish. Hopefully though, my mind and heart will be uncluttered.

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