Ash Wednesday

March 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

“Dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”

If you attend an Ash Wednesday service today, chances are you will hear the minister speak these words as he places the ashes upon those gathered. Today is a solemn day; a day of humility. Today we take time to recognize our frailty and our mortality. Our faults and shortcomings. Our complete and utter dependence upon God for existence and life.

Christians observe the season of Lent in different ways; through fasting, prayer, service, and penance. As we move closer to Good Friday and anticipate Christ’s death, we take time on Ash Wednesday to wrestle with our own mortality and shortcomings. We place ourselves in the hands of God, knowing that each breath is a gift of life. We take time to become aware of areas in our life that need God’s touch, whether they are addictions, relationships, health problems, etc.; we take time during this season to let God into those areas, fully recognizing our inability to heal these things under our own strength.

We will begin our exploration of Hebrews 11 and 12 in earnest tomorrow, but one thought here may be helpful. This passage of Scripture is often called “The Faith Hall of Fame,” for it speaks of the great patriarchs in Israel’s history who acted out and were used by God. Yet, these people were also “dust.” They probably did not feel like heroes during these events. As well will see, they were far from perfect. However, these “dust-ly” people have become part of the story of faith; the same story that we, as Christians, claim as our own. As we experience Lent together, may we see that our broken lives do have a welcome place within God’s story of salvation. Let us pray.

“Dear God, today I come to you recognizing myself as one who is utterly dependent upon you. At times in my life, I feel that parts of my existence are flawed and broken, or incomplete; today and during this season, I take time to become fully aware of those things and lay them before you. Please show me how I can surrender these to you . As I remember that I am a created individual who will one day pass from this world, please remind me tangibly that you see me through eyes of love and care; let me know that, as flawed and transient as I am, I am part of your story. Amen.”

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