Ash Wednesday

And He said to Adam, “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘Do not eat from it’:

The ground is cursed because of you.
You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.”    Genesis 3:17-19 (HCSB)

Today is the beginning of Lent, a 40-day preparation for Easter. What does it mean and what will prepare me for Easter?

If you attend an Ash Wednesday worship service, you may very well hear part of this Scripture. For over 20 years I attended such a service and the priest would take palm ashes and mark a cross on my forehead and say, “Remember, daughter, that you are dust and to dust you will return.” I can’t say that I thought about what was said much past that I knew I was mortal and would one day die and my mortal body would decompose. In context, there’s more to think about.

Because the first man and woman chose to turn their own way and to disobey God, we have all inherited the consequences of that disobedience. God says that we will have to work for our food and shelter. The work will not be easy, in fact it will be painful. There will be no “free rides”. We will die.

Now some may read this and think that the amount of painful labor and sweat is not occuring equally and that some people are receiving some type of “free ride”. Whatever the cost in my life, the ride will end. Where the ride ends is depending on the decision I make about a relationship with my LORD.

Easter is the celebration of the Christian year. The depth of the joy that will fill my heart that day is affected by the consideration I give to the Father and the gift that He gave to me in the perfect sacrifice of His Son. Lent is a time of focus for me to “give up” the distractions and instead put that time with Jesus, listening and growing in my relationship with Him.

I weep today as I think about the depth of God’s love for me, a sinner. I cannot express in words what my spirit knows. Jesus gave us His Spirit and so, in prayer, spirit speaks to Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-16). Take six minutes and listen to this beautiful hymn and allow it to speak to your spirit and then offer it to Jesus, in thanksgiving and praise.

What Wondrous Love Is This, Words by Alexander Means, Music by William Walker, 1835, Sung by Connie Dover 

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