Ash Wednesday

Matthew 6.1-16, 16-21

In a sense, the 40-day Lenten journey upon which we embark today is a journey of spiritual preparation.  This season is about death and resurrection, brokenness and redemption, endings, and beginnings.

It is a time to take stock, to reflect, to come clean before God.  There is a remarkable prayer of confession in our hymnal that says: we confess, O Lord, that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. 

So, in the words of the prophet Joel appointed for today, “Return to the LORD, your God, with all your heart for God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. “

Return to the Lord, praying as King David did, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

The Christian faith, of course, is not just a collection of ideas to be believed; it is a way of life to be practiced.  Lent is a time when we commit to come clean before God.  

And there is no sense pretending with God. God knows that you don’t have your act together.  God knows the who we are.  God knows the confused motives behind the seemingly innocent remark or gesture.  God not only knows the real you, but God also loves you. Today our scripture teaches us to “Rend your hearts and not your garments” are both counseling us to pay more attention to the content of our hearts as we enter this season of preparation for Easter.

In the words of the prophet Joel, God is telling us, “Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart.”  

May this Lenten Journey guide your heart and your steps as you draw near to Christ.