Ash Wednesday, February 17 – Written by Rev. Maya Landell
Chapter 26 – Making it Real – Hebrews 11:1-8
1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
8By faith Abraham and Sarah obeyed when they were called to set out for a place that they were to receive as an inheritance; and they set out, not knowing where they were going.
Long, long ago, people used ashes to show they were sad. Sometimes they rubbed them on their skin. Sometimes they rubbed them on their clothes. The ashes were a sign to the world that the people who wore them were mourning someone who had died. Sometimes they were a sign of repentance. The ashes signified that something had changed, something was wrong, something needed to be made right again. It was a way of making people’s grief and prayers public and a way to invite others to accompany them.
Today is a day for acknowledging we have been experiencing Ash Wednesday often in these past months. The pandemic has made space for us to be honest with ourselves, to make things right again – both in us and in the world. Lent invites us to create the kin-dom Jesus talked about that “heals the sick, teaches the unschooled and inspires the downtrodden with hope” (pg.122, We Make the Road by Walking). Everywhere Jesus went and taught faith was sparked and an uprising began, an uprising of learning and hope. Abraham and Sarah did not know where they were going but they followed God’s call and stepped out into the dust of the desert. This day, and the days of Lent ahead call to us of God’s new thing; knowing from dust we come, to dust we will return. In the meantime we choose to live, with integrity, the life God gives to us – the life to which God is calling us.
I have faith that this time can be a new beginning. To make it real by taking our lives, our time, and the people in our lives seriously and gratefully. Being alive in the adventure of Jesus is a starting line, not a finishing line. We are invited to stand for something, to take the time and listen for direction, and to walk with integrity. We do all those things because of our grounding in God and as followers of Christ.
Prayer: God of the journey, change our minds and change our hearts and in doing so, change the world. May we hear your summons and have the faith to step out “to risk everything on an uprising of peace, an uprising of generosity, an uprising of forgiveness, an uprising of love.” In Jesus’ name, we dare. Amen.