“Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
What is Ash Wednesday?
From Anglican Pastor:
“Lent is a season of repentance, fasting, and self-reflection. Of course, all of this happens with the sure knowledge of God’s love and grace to us through Christ. Lent and Ash Wednesday are in no way about condemnation. They are a time in which human beings, given a pronouncement of forgiveness and absolution through Christ, can be honest with God, with ourselves, and with each other. With the terror of judgment removed, we can speak the truth.” Read more here…
From Kate Bowler:
“This beautiful and humbling ritual is perhaps the clearest statement that we will ever hear about our status as temporary. Humans are such transient and fragile beings, so unnecessary to the functioning of the universe. Our presence is precarious. We will search in vain for any guarantees of our continued health, future success, or, even, the promise of tomorrow.” Read more here…
I am reminded daily, all day long of my own mortality.
From the effort it takes to rise and prepare for a day, through the limits I feel during the day, to the exhaustion I feel at the end of the day, I know know that there is far more time behind me than in front of me.
Every day I am reminded that I am a broken person living in a broken world, with other broken people.
I cover the fear this creates in me with faith in my pills, faith in my religion, and faith in myself.
Some days I can even pretend that it’s all not really that broken at all.
I can use the word “broken” instead of “sinful” with no crisis of conscious.
I can pretend that I’m not a real sinner and that sin isn’t ravaging everything God and I call good.
My theologians tell me that I’m in Christ and therefore I’m already justified and sanctified.
Ask my family about that…
Today rips away the illusions and confronts me with the truth…the truth about myself and the truth about you.
It is a harsh truth, but the truth shall set us free.
Positionally, by the grace of God, I’m justified and sanctified.
Practically, I’m often mistaken for an unbeliever.
The ashes will remind me of where I started and where I’ll end…and what God wants from me in between the journey too and from the dust.
Today is the day when our vision can be the clearest…if we choose to see.