Muleshoe FUMC, other Muleshoe churches, reflect and repent during Lent

BY GAIL M. WILLIAMS
Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

On Wednesday, March 6, First United Methodist Church of Muleshoe, along with churches of many denominations throughout the world, began the season of Lent with a special service involving the sign of the Cross made with ashes placed on participants’ foreheads.
“The imposition of ashes on the forehead can be traced back to the 10th century at least, maybe even farther back than that,” said the Rev. Tom Carter, pastor at Muleshoe FUMC and Earth FUMC. “In the Old Testament, ashes are referred to many times. When Job was stricken, he sat down and put dust all over himself. He did that to show a period of mourning and repentance.”
Carter said Lent is basically a time of repentance in today’s culture.
During the Ash Wednesday service, someone places a mixture of ashes and oil or water in the sign of the cross on the participant’s forehead.
“Whoever imposes the ashes makes two comments,” Carter said. “One is we come from ashes and we return to ashes. The other is to repent and be saved.”
The first statements is based on Gen. 3:19 in which Adam is reminded that he is dust and will return to dust; the second echoes the message of John the Baptist and Jesus found in Mark 1:15.
Carter mentioned several Bible passages that refer to dust and ashes in connection with repentance. In Genesis 2:7, God forms human beings out of the dust of the earth. Other scriptural references are Numbers 19:9, as well as verse 17, Hebrews 9:13, Jonah 3:6; Matthew 11:21; and Luke 10:13.
In addition to the United Methodist Church, any Methodist church as well as Episcopal, Lutheran and Catholic, “All pretty much celebrate Ash Wednesday, and there may be other denominations or non-denominational churches that celebrate Ash Wednesday,” Carter said
The time of Lent begins Ash Wednesday and continues through the Saturday before Easter, 40 days, excluding Sundays. Carter encourages those who attended Ash Wednesday services to fast during this time.
“There are some who cannot fast for medical reasons, and we understand this,” he said. “A youth might give up soft drinks and drink water, or give up electronic devices for a designated period every week. At home, you can use this time for Bible reading, prayer time and devotional reading. If you can fast, pick a particular food item and give that up.”
Carter said he gives up candy and desserts for Lent, even sugar-free cookies.
“During the Last Supper, we never read that Jesus ate with his disciples. We hear he washed their feet, broke the bread and passed the cup, but he said ‘I will not drink the fruit of the vine until I can drink it with you again.’ Jesus began his fast with that meal, may have begun a fast prior to that,” Carter said.
The Bailey County Ministerial Alliance is in the process of scheduling special services during Holy Week, beginning on Palm Sunday, April 14. A final schedule will be available soon. For more information, call FUMC Muleshoe at 272-5517 or the Ministerial Alliance at First Baptist Church, 272-4224.

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