Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday 2015

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of a season of reflection, abstinence and penitence - the beginning of Lent, the holiest season in the Church.

Today I reflect upon my sins, I examine my life - and I am overcome with gratitude to my Father who will wash away my sins and imperfections.

Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Today I walk to the church of my childhood to receive ashes - a symbol of penitence and mourning. A symbol of mortality. The ashes are from burning the palms we used to celebrate Palm Sunday - to me this has always resonated as a symbol of our fickleness - we welcome Jesus one day and crucify him the next.

I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. - Job 42:5-6

I know right from wrong - we all do. But how often do I justify myself? How often do I excuse my pettiness, my spite, my disobedience, my filthy little sins? How often do I truly LOOK at myself - at where I have been and at where I am going, at choices I have made and am making, at how my life is aligned or not aligned with God's will?

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. - Genesis 2:7

We are mortal, created by God's hand from clay - born into a broken world, we only have life everlasting by God's Grace - but am I worthy of such a gift? Is anyone?

For dust you are and to dust you shall return. - Genesis 3:19

As His child, I get that precious gift anyway. As His child, I am washed clean by the blood sacrifice of the cross. As His child, I overcome dust! For he loved me - me?? - so much that He sacrificed His beloved Son. For me? Yes, he loved sinful little me that much.

And so I wear ashes, to mourn how I have failed myself, failed Him - knowing also that His Grace is lifting me up and His Love is enfolding me.