Ash Wednesday, Leading Into Lent

“From dust you came, to dust you will return”

Today Christians around the world will take pause to remember where they have come from and to where they will return. This is not your “typical” Christian holiday. There is no jolly fat man in a red coat or happy bunny delivering eggs and presents that will never fit into their intended baskets. Today is a day for solemn pause, reflection, and prayer which is probably why you will not receive an Ash Wednesday card or gift.

Bare Your Ashes
photo credit: www.tamedcynic.org

Having ashes imposed on your forehead is an acceptance of an invitation.  Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent. This season is a time for reflection and remembrance. This time for use to remember that our time on earth is finite and to acknowledge our sinfulness. Ashes on our foreheads are an outward sign of the inward acknowledgement we are making in realizing our sinfulness. We realize that we have fallen short of the example set for us by Christ and we then enter into a season were we fast, hoping that we can become more aware of our sinfulness and begin to correct those actions.

As we enter into this season of pause and reflection I hope that you will take this opportunity to prayerfully reflect on what separates you from God (not God from you).  God is ever present in your life, whether you like or want it.  God has not abandoned you nor will God abandon you in the days or years to come.

I lift up to you the following prayer from today’s lectionary:

O God, you delight not in pomp and show,
but in a humble and contrite heart.
Overturn our love of worldly possessions
and fix our hearts more firmly on you,
that, having nothing,
we may yet possess everything,
a treasure stored up for us in heaven. Amen.

I hope that along with this prayer you will consider the following texts today, prayerfully opening yourself to allow Christ to enter into and work through you.