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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Day of Ashes (Ash Wednesday)

Job 42

New International Version (NIV)


42 Then Job replied to the Lord:
“I know that you can do all things;
    no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
    Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me to know.
“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
    but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.”

 Usually in most Western Ash Wednesday service marks the beginning
of the Lenten season following Fat Tuesday, the Church invites the congregation to come and receive the imposition of ashes, before to receiving the Holy Communion. The ashes are then impositioned (applied) in the shape of the cross on the forehead of each person, while speaking the words, from dust you are and to dust you shall return (Genesis 3:19). The words God spoke to Adam and Eve after they had eaten of the forbidden fruit in the garden leading to the fall and sin of humankind. For us Ash Wednesday's imposition of ashes reminds us each of our sinfulness and mortality. Therefore each of us needs to repent and  and grow closer to God. The cross of Easter reminds us of the good news that through Jesus Christ crucified there is forgiveness for all sins, all guilt, and all punishment, which if we choose can lead us to eternal life.

 This day of Ashes what are you repenting for, what are you turning away from? How are you turning and growing closer to God? In the text from Job verse 6, after Job has been questioned by God he responds by admitting his lack of knowledge and guilt. Job has to remember his role as created verse God's role as creator, and he responds by saying he will repent in dust and ashes. Other examples are found in Ester 4, and Ezekiel 27:30 of repenting and mourning through wearing ashes and sackcloth.

As for me, I wear ashes today to remember the sacrifice that Christ made and the sacrifice that God has called me to make as a Christian. Today for me is one of true repentance for my failures and sin as well as reminder that God has created me for a special purpose which I must continue to press toward.

Be Well, Love Pastor Sirchester.

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