Ash Wednesday

 

The symbolism for Ash Wednesday is profound. Perhaps that is why our churches are full on this day. At some level we recognize our brokenness, our weakness, and our failings. In that recognition, or awareness, we come together before our God, praying with the psalmist, “Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.” We have not always done it right. As we receive the ashes, the sign of that acknowledgement, the minister says, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”

It is “an acceptable time” to take stock of our lives, to “repent,” turn toward God again, and believe what God is saying. The Lord wants our whole heart, not just part of it—not just the part we offer in worship on Sunday, but all of it every day. As it is said so many times in Scripture, “Be not afraid.” Don’t be afraid to give Him your heart. The Lord is “gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and rich in kindness”. God wants our hearts—hearts that are united to His, not divided with the worldly desires of power, prestige, and possessions. We are ambassadors for Christ, as St. Paul says, called to have hearts dedicated to the Lord, full of the love God wants to share with everyone.

As we acknowledge, repent, and surrender, the Lord promises forgiveness, mercy, and the joy of salvation. Today, pray Psalm 51 with your whole heart and with the humility Jesus speaks of in the Gospel today, and the Lord will “ leave behind Him a blessing” in your life for the life of the world.

BH