Ash Wednesday – 2010

Today is Ash Wednesday. Today marks the beginning of a forty-day spiritual journey. This journey is a period of fasting, prayer and emotional preparation leading into Easter. This period of forty days is called Lent.

Traditionally, there are special services on Ash Wednesday that focus on reflection, repentance, confession of sin, and God’s forgiveness.  During this service a sign of the cross or a mark is placed on the forehead of individuals with a mixture of ashes and oil.  The receiving of that mark is an outward expression of inward contrition and sorrow for our sins, as well as a promise to make an effort to repent of our human condition which separates us from God. 

During Lent we are called to face our faith. During the season of Lent we are called to take stock of truths about our lives and about ourselves that we do not want to (or are scared to) face.  Lent is a season when followers of Christ examine their lives in the light of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Lent is a journey that brings us to hope in Christ for forgiveness and new life.

Psalm 103:14 and Ecclesiastes 3:20 remind us that when it is all said and done, none of us are much to look at.  Psalm 51 reminds us that our priorities are misplaced and misdirected.

For many of us the solution is a “religious behavior.” I am talking about persons who say things like “praise God” every two munutes and who do not let a single crumb of bread pass their lips without saying a lengthy and public prayer.  

The truth is that God, who sees all, is not fooled for even a second. Those who crave earthly honors and demand places of esteem in their churches will be brought down and their deeds turn into ash. Those who find courage and strength to face their faith and to get real about their humble place before God and others will be elevated to position of respect.

It is that simple; if you love the Jesus of the cross and of the empty tomb, then do not draw attention to yourself by boldly bragging about how “good” you are.  If you love the Jesus of the cross and of the empty tomb, then draw everyone’s attention to Jesus by living holy lives and being a follower of Jesus. Remember: Justin Lookadoo’s “Is it holy?”

In our culture today, talk of sin, repentance, and so forth is scoffed at and not taken seriously. We live in a death denying culture.  Discussion of sin is considered negative thinking.  We are at a place where each person decides their own truth and their own morality. (

Lent reminds us that we do not only have ourselves to answer to. It reminds us that in Christ, God has dealt with a deadly reality in our lives -the reality of sin which cuts us off from God. (

The good news of Lent is that it gives us the opportunity to think about eternal matters. The good news of Lent is that it gives us an opportunity to ask ourselves some tough questions and to face our faith in an honest and mature way that leads to new life.  The good news of Lent is that God did not want us to just grovel in the grime of our sin. God sent his Son to die on the cross for our sins, God sent the Holy Spirit to guide us; God gave us the waters of baptism to usher a renewal in our lives, and God gave us the food of the Lord’s Table to strengthen us along the way to perfection.  What we do with all that is entirely up to us.

May God bless you on your Lenten Journey!

Works Cited

Sterling, Rev. Bill. “Ash Wednesday.” 17 02 2010. theperplexedpastor. 17 02 2010 <>.


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