Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Isaiah 58:1-12; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Photo by Annika Gordon on Unsplash

Today is Ash Wednesday the beginning of Lent. For the next 40 days Christians around the world will fast in various ways to prepare for the coming of Resurrection Sunday. This is the high holy day where we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. It was this moment that sets Jesus apart from all other would-be messiahs. The empty tomb is the key moment of our faith.

Ash Wednesday is the stark reminder that get to the resurrection Christ first had to go to the cross.

Many will wear ashes on their foreheads today to remind them of their mortality. The ashes signify that from dust we came, to dust we return. Just as Christ died, so too will we die.

The passages for today's readings point us in the direction of why there was a cross. There was a cross because we through our hypocrisy had separated ourselves from God.

Even though we might act like we honor God, in our hearts there is something else going on.

What is it? What else is going on?

It is this desire to honor ourselves. It is humanity playing out the temptations in the wilderness between Jesus and The Accuser in each of our own lives. Sadly, if we're honest, many times when push comes to shove we fail the test. When we do, we create separation between us and God.

In our humanity we are frail. In our humanity we are often given to the path of least resistance, whatever is easiest or makes us “happy” in the moment. In our humanity we often care more about looking the part than being the part.

We are reminded on this Ash Wednesday that though there was separation there is no more. Resurrection is coming. Death has been defeated. Reconciliation is ours because of the victory won on the cross and displayed in the resurrection.


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