Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.  Psalms 30:5 (KJV)
This verse pretty effectively points to the nature of God's forgiveness.  So many people go through their days feeling a nagging presence of guilt.  The possible sources for guilt arise from all kinds of places and all kinds of acts - both of commission and omission.  The nagging can end though.  A simple act of confession/repentance is all that is needed for the wrong (i.e. God's anger) to pass away and be forgotten in a moment.  Passing from guilt and shameful worry we cross a threshhold into a life surrounded by God's favor and love.  Guilt may haunt us in the night but it need not impair our joy that comes in the morning.

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Christian Church's observance of Lent.  Lent is a period of reflection and contemplation for six weeks leading to Easter.  On this day there are worship services in most churches where the call to confession and repentance are made manifest.  These tend to be somber services and at their conclusion ashes are imposed upon the forehead of the all the attendees as a sign of one's repentance.  I would encourage and invite you to take advantage of the more "formal" structure of confession and repentance offered through these special worship services today.  They provide an intentional way to do some personal interior "house cleaning" and through the old liturgies of The Church move you back into the joy of the Lord's favor.

Come now, and let us (pray) together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  (Isaiah 1:18)  Amen.

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