Ash Wednesday - February 14, 2018

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February 14, 2018

Lent is here…this special season of preparation – historically this predominately preparation was for baptism, but for most of us having been Baptized, it’s a season of preparation to encounter Christ’s resurrection. This means we seek to understand who we are as sinners, and who God is in God’s Holiness and God’s Extravagant love and power.

There is a juxtaposition in Lent. The word Lent in his root meaning is “spring.” Springtime…a time of life, of a new beginning. This life and a new beginning are found as we focus on sin and death and need for forgiveness…the making of a right relationship. Here we find the contrast – life and new beginning is found through a focus on sin and death. Through this, we move to reconciliation with God, self, and others. From separation to union.

This is a season of gazing, really looking. It’s also a season of remembering: to remember – to re-put together – re-member Christ’s suffering and death – as we look, as we remember it gets in us. As we with intentionality enter into this ritual of Lent, it helps us know our need for God and God’s power and love.

We’re exhorted about motives and behavior for the Lenten season – listen carefully as we are called to a holy lent in a moment.

With all of our hearts we heard in our scripture readings – we are called to come to God in this season: this is both corporate and personal and without fear. And let us be reminded: this is not a season to earn something from God or about making commitments to our self-care by diet and exercise – the ever popular giving up chocolate for Lent. It is about ordered self-control to let go of something that may draw our heart from God and pick up something that may draw us toward God.

Letting Go
Taking Up
Drawing near to God

How might we demonstrate this?  We hear in scripture several things:

Prayer- perhaps picking up a prayer time personally or corporately – this may mean we let go of something else that currently occupies time in our schedules.

Alms – intentional giving of our money

Time alone “secretly” with God to pray and read scripture

Fasting – abstaining from a food or foods remind ourselves as we hold from a food or foods – perhaps weekly or daily - of our need or desperation for God.

What does this do? This letting go and taking up?

It makes us aware…aware of whose presence we are in every moment of every day. God who is Holy, powerful, perfect, the King, and love. We see God’s faithfulness and our limitations. We experience grace.

So, let us consider our returning to God with all our hearts. To God who is gracious, merciful, and abounding in steadfast love…and may God bless us with a fresh revelation of Christ’s resurrection at Easter.