This is the most important time of the year, and I think it affords us a unique opportunity to teach children about the life, ministry, death, and Resurrection of Jesus. If they walk away from this school and church and never learn this story, then we have utterly failed. Let God judge us according to the calling we’ve received.
But I know that won’t happen because you all are amazing.
Lent is a season of spiritual interruption. If we’re to take this story seriously, it means over the next 40 days we should be willing to critically evaluate every aspect of our lives. We should be willing to lay them at Jesus’ feet.
Ash Wednesday is a day of brutal honesty, and that’s what I think is so beautiful about it. What a weird thing we did earlier… I put ashes on the foreheads of my co-workers this morning and reminded them that they’re going to die. And some of you smiled at me as I did it! We’re an odd bunch.
As I thought about the ashes, I realized that ashes are something we put on, but what they do is remove the masks we hide behind. The ashes force us to confront our mortality, our frailty, all the ways in which we are broken. The ashes make us see ourselves more clearly, if we’ll let them.
Joel 2 (one of the texts used every Ash Wednesday) says this, “’Yet even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’” That Hebrew word for “rend” literally means “to tear into pieces”.
The passage continues, “Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.”
Your God is for you. Great is His love for you.
Tear your heart to pieces, and let Jesus put you back together. Lay your life in the grave and rise with Jesus.
It’s a completely ludicrous story and a completely ludicrous way to live. But I hope you lean into the oddness of the story God’s given us to tell.
I want to help you all tell that story as much as I can. If there’s a topic you’d like me to cover, or a class you’d like me sub for, I’m happy to do that. If you have questions, feel free to find me on campus or send an email.
An incredibly difficult task, I know. I’m praying for you.