Observing Lent Triumphantly

Lent is supposed to be a season of self-denial and repentance, so why do I look forward to Ash Wednesday so much? Why is the Ash Wednesday liturgy my favorite service in the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer?

Ash Wednesday

I think I enjoy observing Lent because the prayers, readings, and sacrament of ashes remind us that no matter how bleak our condition may seem, God’s love triumphs over all.

Observing Lent

The opening prayer from the Ash Wednesday service in the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer grounds the service in God’s love and forgiveness:

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have created and forgive the sins of all who are penitent.

The readings usually include Psalm 103, which includes these verses:

The Lord is full of compassion and mercy,
slow to anger and full of great kindness.

He will not always accuse us,
nor will he keep his anger forever.

He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.

As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our sins from us.

To me, this Psalm is a reminder that God does not define us by our worst moments. While we tend to dwell on our worst traits, God loves our whole selves.

After the Bible readings, the service continues with an invitation to observe a holy Lent, which begins:

Dear People of God . . .

I just love that phrase–maybe because it connotes a sense of belonging to God. God’s love draws us together, despite the differences we think pull us apart.

With the imposition of ashes the priest reminds us:

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Ash Wednesday Selfie

While this may strike some as a macabre part of the service, I see it as a needed reminder of my place in God’s creation. As much as I don’t like to think about it, life is short. I need to treasure the time I have with loved ones and appreciate the blessings each day brings.

So, yes, Lent is a solemn season that can include self-examination, repentance, fasting, and self-denial, but it also is a time of preparation for Easter, when we celebrate Jesus’ ultimate triumph over death.

This week’s Wednesday Word is triumphant. At first it seemed like a hard word for Ash Wednesday, but then I realized that it was a perfect one!

Deb Runs

What do you feel triumphant about?

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18 Responses to Observing Lent Triumphantly

  1. Carla says:

    I learn *so* much from the gift youve given me of your friendship.
    Carla recently posted…I dont believe in guilty pleasures.My Profile

  2. Lauren says:

    What a great take on triumphant! Love this!
    Lauren recently posted…Running Injury Free Through a MarathonMy Profile

  3. Marcia says:

    What a beautiful way to look at it!
    Marcia recently posted…How I Ditched Sugar and a RecipeMy Profile

  4. Funny, we Jews are pretty good with the guilt thing, yet our repentance is just one day!

    I do feel triumphant that I’ve managed to stay around my goal weight for almost 3 years now — I think that’s a first for me!
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…My triumphant return to runningMy Profile

  5. Kim Hatting says:

    I try to think of Lent as a season not so much of self-denial (which is negative),but of self-enrichment. Yes, some years I have “given up” something of perceived value, but usually in doing so I have learned to get along without it. Other years I have taken on a new habit or ritual, which may have seemed like a struggle in the first week or so…but turns out to be something that lasts long after Easter Sunday. I love this post!!!
    Kim Hatting recently posted…An unexpected Triumph!My Profile

  6. So funny, as a Catholic, I never thought about Lent as triumphant–I tended to think about it more as sacrifice and repentant. Great take on this time of year.
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…The Finish LineMy Profile

  7. Really interesting take on truimphant! We are Jewish so have lots of the same meaning in our Yom Kippur day. A whole month is a long time!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…How To Encourage Your Valentine To Be More Active & HealthyMy Profile

  8. Thank you for sharing this message today. I am looking forward to observing Lent and while giving up alcohol may not be the hugest sacrifice, I believe I’ll learn a lot over the next few weeks.
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Goals for the ZOOMA Run Love 10KMy Profile

  9. I love how you tied being triumphant into Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Easter, and concluded with, “… when we celebrate Jesus’ ultimate triumph over death.” Great use of today’s word!

    Thanks for linking up!
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…TriumphantMy Profile

  10. “No matter how bleak our condition may seem, God’s love triumphs over all.” — YES! I love resting in His promises! Thank you for such a great post and a wonderful reminder!
    Rachel @ RachelMcMichael.com recently posted…How to Stick With Your New RoutineMy Profile

  11. Tamieka says:

    Perfect triumphant!! Happy Lent season!

  12. God’s love does triumph over all- thank you for sharing! Loved it!
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…Do you feel triumphant?My Profile

  13. Karen says:

    This life is short, what we inherit will be endless 😉
    Karen recently posted…Plantar Plate InjuriesMy Profile

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