Dear Friends in Christ,
Wednesday is the first day of the season we call Lent. Lent is a six-week time of reflection and preparation for the celebration of Easter. This year the season begins on Ash Wednesday (March 6) and concludes on Holy Saturday (April 20). Lent is a time to open the doors of our hearts a little wider and deepen our relationship with God in Jesus Christ, so that when Good Friday and eventually Easter comes, it is not just another day at church but an opportunity to receive the overflowing of grace God has to offer.
On Ash Wednesday, ashes are placed on foreheads or on the back of hands with these words from Genesis: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” This ritual reminds us that life is short, that God calls each of us to confess our sins and brokenness, and to repent, and that we come from the dust of the earth and to the dust of the earth we shall one day return.
I invite you to read this piece written by Elizabeth A. Long-Higgins on Wednesday morning and join us on Wednesday evening for our dinner and worship service.
Marked by the Cross
Like those who have gone before
Walking this road of Christian faith
This day, we too, wear the mark of the cross.
This mark is, perhaps more public,
this mark is, perhaps, more confessing –
than other crosses that we wear throughout the year.
It is a mere mark, however gritty
a dirty smudge which is even more humbling
than other marks, than other crosses we bear.
But as you wear your mark of the cross from this place this day
May you remember all that it represents.
As you wear the mark of the cross
may you be mindful of ways in which the cross has already marked your life
and may you find daily, through this Lenten journey,
ways in which God is calling you to share with the world
the love and forgiveness which you have already come to know
in the gritty, humble, dirty, sacred mark of God the Cross.
As you go to wash this mark of grit and ash from your own body
may you be mindful of the one whose love washes over us,
may you center on the one whose body lived, died, and rose again,
may you focus on the one who offers to remove all stains,
may you breathe a breath of remembrance of the one who gives us life
and may you, having confessed again what separates you from God’s love,
say a word of forgiveness even to yourself.
Perhaps you may ask a loved one to wash the mark for you
My you receive the word of forgiveness they offer you –
a sigh of God’s reconciling love at work in this world
a sign of how we need each other to give witness to grace itself,
and move us ever closer to God’s heart.
Blessings on the journey,