Ash Wednesday


Wednesday Reflection


17th February 2021

...reflection and preparation...

Repent, then, and turn to God,
so that your sins may be
wiped out, that times of
refreshing may come
from the Lord.

.... Acts 3:19

Once again we move into
the season of Lent;
a season of repentance,
reflection and preparation
for the journey to the
cross and beyond.

Lent was a season of preparation
for those to be baptised on
Easter Sunday.

For us now,
although we may not be receiving
baptism in a few weeks time,
the disciplines of Lent
remain an invitation to allow
God's life and values to
direct our lives.

As we receive the ash
on our heads today
(Corona restrictions once more
have forced us to adapt,
no cross on the forehead -
no touching),
with the words
   "Remember you are dust
    and to dust you shall return,"
    Genesis 3:19,
may it be more than just a ritual,
but a reminder that all that is not
fixed in God's reign
ultimately becomes ash,
but with God's life
at work within us,
we are more than just dust -
we are the children of God.

The Ash Wednesday theme is easy
to identify - when we became Christians,
we offered ourselves to God,
acknowledging and thanking
Jesus for his sacrifice on the Cross
and accepting the forgiveness
won for us there.

But this is not a one-off act,
we still need to go to
the Cross for cleansing,
forgiveness and healing
on a regular basis.

But Ash Wednesday is not only a day
of solemnity and repentance,
recognising that we are
"sinners in need of a Saviour",
it is also a day of celebration,
because what is offered to us is
a path that leads to life.

And so, as we begin the symbolic
journey of following Jesus
through the wilderness to the Cross,
we are given now,
right at the beginning,
a glimpse of the
resurrection that awaits.

Repentance is not easy,
it seems to have become a normal
practice for society to
deny responsibility or to
avoid acknowledging when
they are in the wrong.

Little true repentance has
followed the economic crisis,
a lot of work is being done
to deny human responsibility
for climate change,
and the broken systems that
burden developing countries
with debt that outweighs
whatever aid they receive
are not easily acknowledged
in the corridors of power.

It's always somebody else's fault!

Yet, before we can possibly begin to
create the world we long for,
we must admit our involvement -
our greed, our carelessness,
our ignorance,
our self-centredness,
our consumption.

And to do this work of
repentance effectively,
we need a global spiritual revival,
for only in the light of God's
sovereignty can we see our need,
and get a vision for what we,
as a species, can become.

Ash Wednesday offers us an
opportunity to develop the
discipline of confession
and repentance,
which not only builds our
spiritual connection with God,
but which also strengthens
our relationships,
gives us a clearer and more
humble perspective on ourselves,
and leads us to live well,
bringing life and love.

It may be interesting to watch,
or just listen to a song
'Song of Repentance '
sung by New Wine Worship
via the link shown below.