The last few years, I’ve tried my best to observe Ash Wednesday. Some people ask me why I’ll go to a mass or participate in some of the Lenten customs if I’m not Catholic. For me, the liturgical calendar, traditions, and some of the spiritual exercises, provide me with tools to help me balance my spirituality in the rhythms of life.
Ash Wednesday is one of those tools.
It reminds me of two things:
1. My need for a Savior.
I believe wholeheartedly that I’ve been saved and set free from my sin by the blood of Jesus Christ. I’m so very grateful for that fact. And while I am grateful, it’s easy for me to slip into the monotony of life and forget what a BIG DEAL it is that Jesus Christ saved me from my sins.
At one point in time — I was on my way to hell — and rightfully so, because of the mistakes I had made. But God the Father saw me in need, Jesus said He would meet that need, and then the Holy Spirit revealed to me how that need was met. Ash Wednesday reminds me that I was once a sinner without Christ but now I’m a son through Christ.
2. My ashy future.
James 4 says that my life, our lives, are like vapors — here one moment — and then carried away the next. Because I’m prone to busyness, life always seems to be slipping through my fingers without me realizing it, just like the paczki that “disappeared” from my desk today.
A year ago, I was dreaming of the day when my newborn son would be able to run and play and interact with me — and now that he can, I often find myself dreaming of the next stage instead of enjoying this one which I had desired before.
Ash Wednesday reminds me that I came from the ashes of the earth and one day, I’ll return to them, so I best enjoy the time I have. It reminds me to show the love of Christ now, because I may not get a chance tomorrow. It reminds me that I should enjoy these precious few moments I’ve been given, no matter what they bring to me. It reminds me not to stress out because I don’t know exactly what they’ll look like or how they’ll play out.
Ash Wednesday reminds me that it was from dust I came, and it’s to dust I will return — but the in between shall remain a beautiful mystery.
And that’s what makes it
soli deo gloria
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