Ash Wednesday Reflections

This Ash Wednesday is no ordinary day for me. In fact, this whole past week has been a heartbreaking and unsettling one for almost everyone I have talked to as we have watched in disbelief the images of tanks rolling into Ukraine and heard the stories of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing their once peaceful land as refugees. What they had feared for so long has finally happened…

Photo by Ahna Ziegler on Unsplash

The news in Ukraine only fuels the unease many of us feel as we watch sharp dips in the stock market, and soaring gas prices, and look out onto a very uncertain future. It is all too easy to wonder if we also will see a domino effect that brings into surreal focus what we most fear – just like the events in Ukraine unfolding right before our eyes. With all these distressing events, this Ash Wednesday holds special significance for me.

I did not grow up observing a Lenten tradition, but have discovered it along my faith journey with other embodied practices of the early church that has enriched my own faith through the living out of its annual rhythms and reflections. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent – an invitation to follow in the footsteps of Jesus as he is consecrated for his earthly ministry and led into the Wilderness for 40 days of fasting, prayer, preparation, and testing before beginning his time of ministry and then onward to Palm Sunday, the last supper, the prayer of anguish in Gethsemane, and the final road leading up to Golgatha with the Cross on his back… for me.

Ash Wednesday is typically a call to a sobering time of repentance, fasting and prayerful reflection on our frailty and mortality and need for Someone to rescue us from the darkness all around us in this world and even more the darkness found within ourselves. However, this Ash Wednesday has found me already in mourning. I am already grieving the darkness around me and am all too aware of my own frailties in light of what we have all experienced the past two years as well as this past week’s recent events. Instead of being sobered by the observation of Ash Wednesday this year, it has felt like a lifeline of hope! There is one who sees my sin, weakness and frailty and has made provision for me anyway, because of a fierce and undying love that refuses to be conquered.

This lenten season I am choosing a new theme to focus on – Instead of focusing on what I am sacrificing or giving up for lent, I am choosing to remember what He gave up for me and to praise Him for His unfailing love that holds me in these moments when I feel like the earth is giving way beneath me and the mountains are being cast into the sea. Because of His love, I will fear no evil, for He is with me. His rod and His staff, they comfort me.

So, for this first day of Lent, I praise Him for His promise of Love etched onto my heart and written into the fabric of time itself…

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

~Romans 8:38-39

Each weekday of the lenten season, I am aiming to include a new post reflecting on God’s unfailing, covenant love for us. If you would like to join me on this journey, I welcome you! Whether you are an old friend or a new reader, I welcome you here in this space to reflect along with me. Each reflection will be based around a selected quotation and will relate back to our relationship with God and with others as we join hearts in this lenten journey toward the Cross where I pray we will see one another in the light of fresh revelation of the deep and mysterious love of God for each one of us and may we breathe in anew His Spirit and the hope He brings morning by morning to strengthen our hearts for the days ahead…

God be with you.

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