Scriptures: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Let us pray:
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in thy sight O Lord our Rock and Redeemer, Amen.
Why do we have Ash Wednesday? There are several instances in scripture that have to do with 40 days of preparation. We begin our 40 days before Easter remembering; so for us Lent is a time of sacred reflection. We remember Moses, who for 40 days and nights was on the mountain receiving the Law from God. When he came down and presented it to the people, his face shone for another 40 days and nights. When the Israelite people had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, they underwent a purging of all that needed to be purged. Moses, Miriam, and Aaron worked diligently to lead them into a new way of being: the way of being the people God wanted them to be. A people who would look to the Lord first and foremost in all they did.
During Lent, our task is to reach inwards, to realize in our own hearts what is most important, to examine our lives in light of how God would want us to be, and to live in humble grace as we accept with thanks the lessons we learn. Lent is like the winter of the soul; a time of preparation for the Springtime Easter that is yet to come.
Through Lenten reflection we are given a chance to look back at the accumulation of events of our life in the year past, then take the next step forward.
Christ came preaching “Repent, the Kingdom of God has come near!” Christ came to teach how to enact the Reign of God. As we place ashes on our foreheads, we remember all these things, and we also remember that in all our frailty as imperfect human beings, we are still empowered to make choices to begin again.
We can choose to live into the life of Christ, to live lives of repentance, forgiveness, and love. We may not be perfect at it, but we have, as scripture reminds us, this treasure in clay jars. We are clay, oh yes and some of us are chipped, cracked, and in need of the potter’s remaking hand. We may be dust, and to dust we will return, but we are still, each of us, vessels for the treasure that is the indwelling of the Spirit of God and the outpouring of the mercy of Christ.
Let us go and serve the Lord.
Christ go before us, Christ come after us, Christ walk with us, every step of the way. Amen.