Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday Thoughts

I spent some time this morning just looking at the texts of this day and wondering what would speak to me on this Ash Wednesday?  A day which I have ALWAYS liked as the start of the season of Lent.  In the past few years at Karl Road, I would love the taize service that we had and really felt like I entered into the beginning of the holy time.  I have always  liked the idea of six weeks of sacrificing something and taking on something else as a way to commit myself to deepen my faith.

Today, I know it is unlikely that I will get to a church and have the ashes imposed.  I have a meeting at noon and time with Kacey and kids in the afternoon and evening.  And so, the texts are the way I begin this season.

It is always easy to get caught up in the sin, confession, contrition language of the day.  But as I spent more and more time just reading I was caught by the R words:
  • Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful  (Joel)
  • Restore to me the Joy of your salvation (Psalm 51)
  • Be Reconciled to God (2 Corinthians)
Why do come to these words every year?  Because we have gone away, we lose our joy, we are estranged from God.
 How many times do we  come to prayer and realize how long it has been,?
How many times do we  fall into despair and hopelessness about the state of the world or our own lives?
 How many times do we live our lives and make decisions without considering God's   desires for us? 
There is a reason why it is good to go to church or to have "morning devotions" - to remember God's constant and abiding presence  and love and God's guidance. So for me this day is about REMEMBERING  my need of God  the reward  of a "With God" life

The Lord will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.
Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.(Isaiah 58)

 I write all this as one who really has experienced guidance from God, and God's energy and light and purpose.  As I return and am restored and reconciled.  Again and again. (not that there isn't also struggle and wilderness, but God is ultimately " gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love")

So Lent  begins again and I will give up sweets and take on writing about scripture in this blog and look for signs of life and new life.  (Small stones)  And trust that God is doing something new with me.

Even without the ashes, it feels like a good beginning.


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