This Wednesday, February 14, the world will be celebrating LOVE, and Christians will be observing Ash Wednesday, a day to remind us of our mortality and sinfulness.
Pink hearts, roses and chocolate, a romantic candlelit dinner - or a somber worship service, the pastor marking your forehead with ashes in the sign of a cross.
Which would you choose? Tough call!
And what about those who don't have a special someone in their lives, who may not even have family? Valentine's Day rubs it in their faces in a very painful way.
Ashmarks the season of Lent, the 40 days before Easter when Christians all around the world try to focus on Jesus' suffering and death. For some, it is a season of fasting. Others try to be more deliberate in their study of the Bible, their prayer life, or their giving to charitable organizations. It is an opportunity to press the reset button on your spiritual life: Do I have time for Jesus every day? Is there room for him in my life?
Lent is a chance to think about those questions and consider how Jesus might become a more important part of your life, everyday. Because that's when we need him the most: in our daily tasks.
Lent is also a time to remember those who are hungry, who are persecuted, and all victims of physical and emotional abuse. During Lent we face life in its full brutality. We even face death. No denial, no sugarcoating. While this is uncomfortable, it helps us to realize why we really need God: Because every day is not Valentine's Day! Our love for others is often tested, as is their love for us. God's love never fails. God's love is not conditional on our behavior or our qualities. God's love is generous and never ending.
However you celebrate Ash Valentine, may the season of Lent remind you of God's love for you!