In some Christian denominations, the Sunday before Ash Wednesday features a special, liturgical worship piece called “a farewell to alleluia.” This usually involves a special hymn that repeats the word “alleluia” throughout its stanzas, a reminder to the congregation that this word will not be sung again until Easter morning.Read More
Scripture records the fasts of numerous people and groups of people. Moses, David, Elijah, Hezekiah, Jesus, and Paul fasted (Deut. 9:9; 2 Sam. 12:16; 1 Kings 19:8; 2 Kings 18:6; Matt. 4:2; Acts 9:9). Jehoshaphat called for the nation of Israel to fast (2 Chron. 20:3).Read More
What are the thoughts that run through your head as you read or sing this section of Psalm 51? Do you wonder if you sing or pray them with enough contrition? Do you worry you lack a clean heart, a steadfast spirit, the joy of salvation?
On Ash Wednesday, sinners and saints leave church marked with a cross, marked with the sign and material of death. Heads become canvases painted with ashes. The sobering words, “for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” spoken to Adam and Eve as they rebelled against the Lord, are echoed today (Gen. 3:19).Read More
Dr. Seuss once humorously remarked, “They say I’m old fashioned, and live in the past, but sometimes I think progress progresses too fast!” One of the blessings of the church calendar is that it interrupts our “progress” with slow, annual rhythms that serve followers of Jesus by focusing our attention upon what matters most.Read More
Sitting in my office is a painting called The Two Crowns. In this painting, a king rides through the streets in full regalia, seated on an elegant, white horse. The crowd goes wild for him. The women swoon. The king, however, is distracted.Read More