I am writing this at the end of the day … unusual for me but will be out the door early tomorrow morning and my heart is full.
We found an Ash Wednesday service being held at a Lutheran Church not far from our home so we headed over after dinner.
It was somber and reflective and it focused around an old forgotten hymn of their church.
Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted
Not exactly what the praise team usually starts out with on a Sunday morning.
The lyrics are heavy.
But that is what Lent calls us to.
It calls it to put a pause on the spinning days of our lives and it reminds us that one day it will all end.
It will end for us individually and there will be a final end of all things.
All the seasons and lives and culture shifts and governments that were destined to be will be finished and we will stand in judgment.
Everything and everyone who seemed to important won’t really matter so much after all.
We went down for communion and before we ate the bread and drank and cup and remembered what has been done for us, we were looked in the eye as ashes were brushed on our foreheads.
From dust you came. To dust you will return.
It’s not the message I get on my social media feeds and from magazine covers.
It’s not what people tell me when I tell them I’m 60 and they exclaim that I sure don’t look it. (Hopefully)
It’s not what I tell myself when I make plans for tomorrow and next week and ten years from now and try to do all the right things to slow the aging that is inevitably progressing despite my best efforts.
But I know it.
I’ve stood by enough graves now to know.
Young, old…ready or not…to dust we will return.
I will return to dust…
I will go the way of all men and women born on planet earth…
and I will stand in judgement for every thing…
good, bad…intentional, accidental…
thought and word and deed…
the bad I did, the good I failed to do…
the wasted time and errant wanderings…
all of it…
along with the good I managed to do and the evil I avoided…
and the heart that motivated every single moment.
The ashes on my forehead, like the ashes of all those around me mark me for what I am.
He finishes my story as only He can.
Because I am also marked as His.
I bear His grace and He bears my scars.
His blood bought my forgiveness.
His death bought my life.
That is how we do Lent, my friends.
We remember <3