Good News in the Ashes

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday.  The first day of the season of Lent.  A time when we, as followers of Christ, examine ourselves and see how pitiful we are in following the One whom we claim to follow.

I think that we do ourselves a disservice if we just look at the Lenten disciplines as a way of seeing how short we are from the goal because we are approaching Lent from the standpoint of what can we do to draw closer to Christ.  We fall short because how we follow Christ is not the objective.  The truth of the matter is that we can never even come close to the goal of following Christ if we lean only upon our merits and our own efforts.

When we lean on our own merits and the good things that we have done, we fall into the trap of idolizing ourselves.  When we lean solely upon God and accept his movement toward us, then we are putting ourselves in a position to be the people that God through Christ calls us to be.  We foul things up when we put ourselves in the mix.  We get it right when we live into what God has done, and is continuing to do, for us.

I will be part of the congregation at Grace Episcopal Church tomorrow morning to worship and to receive the imposition of the ashes.  I will lead the service at Rising Fawn UMC at 7:00 p.m. following a spartan meal at 6:00 as part of our usual Wednesday night activities.  If you are in the area, I invite you to join us as I invite the congregation to “observe a holy lent: by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s Holy Word.” (United Methodist Book of Worship, p.322)

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