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Wednesday, 9 March 2011

and so Lent begins...

                                                  The LORD is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.
Psalm 103:13-14

we begin our 6 week journey through Lent,
a season to prepare for a deeper experience
of the passion and resurrection of Jesus,
with the acknowledgement of and reflection upon our own mortality.
"Ash Wednesday worship is the chance for us all to openly acknowledge our frailty and sinfulness. In a world that often expects us to be perfect, on Ash Wednesday we freely confess our imperfections. We can let down our pretenses and be truly honest with each other about who we are. We all bear the mark of sin... We all stand guilty before a holy God. We all are mortal and will someday experience bodily death. Thus we all need a Saviour."  
and that is the good news we anticipate as we journey toward Easter.
 on Ash Wednesday
"We can face death.
We can admit our own mortality.
We can talk openly about the limits of this life. Why?
Because we know that through Christ we have entered into life eternal,
the fullness of life that will not end when our bodies give out.

The emotional result of Ash Wednesday observance isn't depression or gloom,
but gratitude and new energy for living.
When we realize how desperately we need God,
and how God is faithful far beyond our desperation,
we can't help but offer our lives to him in fresh gratitude.
And when we recognize that life doesn't go on forever,
then we find new passion to delight in the gifts of each and every day,
and to take none of them for granted...
 ashes are placed on our foreheads
as a reminder of our mortality and sinfulness.
The person who imposes the ashes quotes something like
what God once said to Adam after he had sinned:
 "You are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Gen 3:19).
This is the bad news of our sinfulness that prepares us to receive
the good news of forgiveness in Christ.
 One year, as I returned to my seat after imposing ashes upon dozens of worshipers, I sat next to my 12-year-old son. I couldn't help but notice the prominent black cross on his forehead, placed there by another leader. All of a sudden it hit me that my dear boy will die someday. Though I knew this in principle, I had never really thought about it before. My boy won't live forever. His life, like mine and that of every other human being, will come to an end. At that moment I prayed that God would give Nathan a long and blessed life. And then I hugged him for a good minute, treasuring the life we share together."

along with mark roberts, whose thoughts i've shared today, i encourage you with this final thought ~ 

"How grateful I am for the grace of God that allows us to stare death in the face
so we can live with greater passion and delight!
And how thankful I am for a day that allows me to think about death
so I can cherish life even more."

resources to bless  you : 

Ashwednesday-full  


5 comments:

Donnie said...

That was such a perfect post for Ash Wednesday. Very inspirational.

Misty said...

Can I come over for tea and a chat??? Your blog is so inviting and I think we'd have much to share. Glad to have found you through Ann's blog!

Renee Ann said...

Thanks for this inspiring post! I'm always glad I stopped in at your beautiful blog.

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

i'm so pleased to have had your visits today!
thank you ~
and for staying to chat ~ bless you!
every blessing of grace and growth on your Lenten journeys...

Janis@Open My Ears Lord said...

It's been a while since I've been here..And you have remodeled. It's beautiful.

I like your thoughts on Ash Wednesday. As I wrote about dying to self and carrying your cross, perhaps you would like to stop by for a visit. I'm also giving away a copy of Ann's book, in a drawing, as part of my celebration on One Year of Blogging.

Hope to see you there.

Blessings,
Janis

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