~by Pastor Mike Middaugh
Today is Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of the season of Lent. Many Christians observe this day by placing an ashen cross upon their foreheads, a practice known as the Imposition of Ashes. The ashes (traditionally from the burnt palm fronds of the previous year’s Palm Sunday) remind us that God has created us from the dust of the ground, and because of sin, it is to dust that our bodies will one day return.
Yet, Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent, while somber in many ways, are also a chance to look once again to the saving work of Jesus Christ. Even as we recognize the greatness of our sin and shortcomings, the greatness of his love for us shines even brighter.
Below I have included a Psalm and a prayer for your reflection today.
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always accuse, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him. For he knows how we were made; he remembers that we are dust.
Lord, your love for me is so great, you breath life into my dry and dusty soul. You satisfy my thirst with living water. You anoint my head with perfumed oil. Yes! By your astounding mercy and love, I am no longer dead, but alive! And though I repeatedly refuse your blessing of milk and honey, choosing instead to wallow in the very dust you free me from, each day you lift me up again. I am redeemed by you. May your name be praised, and may my life be a living sacrifice, set apart for your glory! Amen.
If you would like to read a weekly lectionary reflection for the season of Lent, the Southeastern District has provided one HERE. Please note that Calvary will not be following the lectionary readings for the Sundays of Lent, therefore the readings listed will be different than our Sunday readings.