1 John 3:2
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
A Word of Hope
Today is Ash Wednesday, when people of many faiths, around the globe, receive ashes placed upon their foreheads in the shape of the cross. This anointing symbolizes both birth and death, revealing we can choose to grow spiritually in our walk with Christ as we move towards our physical end.
There was a time in my life when I unquestionably knew more about Fat Tuesday than Ash Wednesday and was mesmerized with Mardi Gras! Then, after understanding the meaning of the 40 days of Lent, I fell in love with Jesus in a different way. I wanted to explore how his sacrifice would symbolically and literally make a difference for all humankind. When I realized the true meaning of this day, I was awe struck and wanted to know more.
As I continue to explore and appreciate this time as a sojourn, I am also aware of this space between the first breath in the manger and the last breath on the cross, while the empty tomb and resurrection bring the promise of everlasting life.
Ash Wednesday gives us an opportunity to surrender “self” during Lent so we can be filled with God’s will and purpose for our lives.
As an adolescent, I looked forward to Easter festivities with the family, all the while knowing my mother’s plan was to stick me in an uncomfortable dress with a huge bow, matching hat, and stiff shoes. Like the resurrection bringing new hope, I knew if I could get through Sunday morning, my baseball glove was tucked into my easter basket and ready for play.
Like the ashes leading into lent, death and resurrection are not just a one-time event, they become the tapestry of our lives. Each time we allow old fears to die, we open a space to embrace the future. When we allow the spirit of Christ to break down walls that keep us from knowing peace, we come home to ourselves and the promise of eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus.
Creator God, as we begin this journey into Lent, let our walk with Christ begin anew this day and every day, for the rest of our lives. Amen