Ash Wednesday || Beginning Lent

Ash Wednesday || Beginning Lent

 

Church doors open all around the world for “the imposition of ashes” — Ash Wednesday.  It begins the season of Lent.  40 days plus a few Sundays — ending with Easter Sunday. 

I felt the  imposition of it today — that uncomfortable weight of the burden of my sin.  My attitude needed an adjustment and there was no hiding it.  It was smeared all over my countenance before the ashes ever were.

And it’s real — the imposition is intruding.  The word of God comes alive and cuts through my crap …my pretense …my selfishness  …my idols of comfort and control.

Ashes are often mentioned in the Bible as a symbol of repentance.  This symbol imposed on  your forehead  literally brings reality to the fore-front of your mind.

“…for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19 NIV)

I was keenly aware of my human dust today.

We sang “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”

“My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride…

 

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!…

 

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?…

 

Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

I left there with a cross  smeared for all to see of the mercy that has been poured out on me by the suffering and death of Jesus Christ.  His death so I could live. 

I’m not wallowing in my ash heap of a bad attitude and sinful heart but I’m keeping it in perspective to remind me just how much my Father loves me and what He did for me in sending His only Son, Jesus Christ, to cover the mess sin had  smeared all over me.

Lent begins with a humble surrender.  God is God and I am not.  Jesus is the Savior and Messiah.  I am not.  Where the Spirit of the Lord  is there is freedom.  Depending on myself  is slavery.

Today I don’t wallow.  I worship. 

I ask the Spirit to bring to mind the things in me that need repair.  Turning my eyes to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. 

One of my favorite lines from a new devotional app, Lectio 365, has become a regular prayer of mine, ” …re-center my scattered senses upon the presence of God.” 

As we begin this season of Lent,  join me in asking the Spirit to  “re-center (our)  scattered senses upon the presence of God.”  Listen as He lovingly whispers truth in our inner being.  Allow the Light to shine in those areas we’ve been trying to hold on to that have become dead weight. 

Let’s begin again.   

Here’s a good start with today’s prayer from Lectio 365…“Father God, Your presence, Your voice and Your will are more important to me than my own comfort. As I prepare to remember Good Friday, endure the silence of Saturday and celebrate Easter Sunday in coming weeks, would You prepare my heart, mind, body and soul. Search me, test me and shape me into the likeness of Your Son.” ( from Lectio 365 Devotional, February 26, 2020)

 Great questions for reflection  from Shaun Groves, “Lent*Day 1”

• Am I depending upon anyone or anything other than God for provision or protection?

• What does my life announce to others about the goodness and trustworthiness of God?


More resources to guide you through Lent:

Lectio 365 App (Daily Devotional)

 

 

 

Bread and Wine English

Bread and Wine:  Readings for Lent & Easter

(Plough Publisher)

 

Special thanks to my dear friend Cora Suggs, for walking with me through  Ash Wednesday today and the gracious hospitality of the friends at the First United Methodist Church, Huntsville, Alabama– who welcomed us all to the table today.

Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

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