It’s a simple piece of jute twine. Cut by the hands of eager children excited to serve as worship leaders for Faith’s Ash Wednesday service. A heart bead was added to remind us that we are called to enter the season of Lent with all our heart. A prayer knot was tied in each bracelet in contemplation of the person who would receive it.
The twine is rough and prickly. The jute twine bracelet is a symbol given to remind us of the ancient Biblical practice of seeking repentance by wearing sackcloth and ashes.
“Then I turned to the Lord God, to seek an answer by prayer and supplication with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, keeping covenant and steadfast love with those who love you and keep your commandments, we have sinned and done wrong, acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and ordinances.” Daniel 9:3-5
The jute prayer bracelets are a visual and sensory reminder to help us turn from those things that keep us from God and focus on living and loving like Jesus. And so we wear these Lenten prayer bracelets as we turn to God this Lent, seeking and praying and surrendering ourselves to the Lord.
We are reminded of Daniel’s words and pray them as our own, “Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, … we have sinned and done wrong, acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and ordinances.”
We reflect on the ways we have fallen short. We repent and reflect on the ways our hearts have become hardened to even those seemingly innocent sins like gossip, jealousy, judgment and indifference. We repent and reflect on who we are in Christ.
We remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us.
The Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation given because we are God’s beloved children.
We look towards Easter and remember God’s promises.
Lent is a journey, a season to refocus and renew our faith commitment and allow God to change our hearts and shape and mold us to be what God has created us to be.
Lent is a season to immerse ourselves in the words of Jesus.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me…” (Luke 4:18)
As we feel the prickly rub from our Ash Wednesday jute bracelets against our skin throughout these 40 days of Lent, let us be reminded of God’s call to “Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12).