Today’s Readings: Psalm 32, 143; Amos 5:6-15; Hebrews 12:1-14; Luke 18:9-14
Today’s Writer: Doug Floyd
We are running headlong into ashes. Literally.
Today Christians from around the world will be marked with ashes, will be marked with death: “Remember, O mortal, that you are dust; and to dust you shall return” (Gen 3:19). Death is the great leveler. Our words will fall to the ground even as our bodies will be laid to rest.
Today we remember that the end is in sight. We rehearse the momentary flash that we call life. In this short, flickering burst of existence, we are privileged to breathe, sing, eat, taste, walk and run. Our flaming glory of existence is so often exhausted on anger, bitterness, covetousness, betrayal, and idolatry.
We cannot be thankful because we want what we don’t have and fail to behold the wonder of what we have already been given. The weight of living can cause our knees to falter, our hands to drop, and our hearts to grieve. Though made for glory, we fall into darkness, frail and broken by sin.
On Ash Wednesday, we lay aside the facade and stand face-to-face with our mortality. We do not stand alone. We stand in the company of a great cloud of witnesses who stand with us to behold “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2)
Only by beholding Jesus can we walk, run forward into the hope of new life. As we begin the Lenten journey, we “lay aside every weight and sin which so easily ensnares” and we run the race of righteousness with endurance by the strength of Christ our Lord. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Lent is not a weary journey, but a lightening race. As we run toward our Savior and toward His cross, we are running to freedom, toward hope, toward life, and toward love. We embrace His discipline, knowing that He is training us in His righteousness and leading us to the fruit of His peace.
By His grace, we rehearse our death even as we rehearse His unconquerable life.
image by Mike_tn (used by permission via Creative Commons)