Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Day of Ashes
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
- James 4: 8-10 NIV
This is the day we wear the ashes. Christians all over the world come to receive the ashes in a cross on their foreheads. This is the day we tell the world we belong to the One who was sacrificed for our sins.
It is a humbling moment to stand before your pastor as the words are spoken and the ashes mixed with oil are drawn onto your head. For the rest of the day, every time you see your image, the reminder of what you are is right there on your face. You are dust... ash... and you will return to dust. This day marks the beginning of Lent, when we are to spend time in introspection and personal sacrifice. We humble ourselves before the Lord and he will lift us up.
In the words of Jan Richardson:
This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.
This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning. (janrichardson.com)