Ash Wednesday Devotional (Fig Tree 2015)


My Ash Wednesday devotion for the Scandal at the Cross Lenten Series by Fig Tree Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

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Read Psalm 51:1-17

“Have mercy on me, God, according to your faithful love! Wipe away my wrongdoings according to your great compassion!” Psalm 51:1 CEB







Why does the Church take time out of its busy schedule to stop, slow down, pray and reflect?  What is it about the human condition that we have to make sure we are constantly happy?  The slightest amount of sadness, mourning, remorse in our day to day lives are generally not “accepted.”  This however is a lie that our society and possibly the church has been propagating.

I’ll admit that Lent is not the most anticipated times of the Christian calendar but it is one where we have the opportunity to hear the story of Christ’s journey toward the cross once again.  We join him on the road, we struggle when he struggles, we find ourselves almost as outsiders looking in to a movie that we cannot stop watching.

But today our journey begins with a reminder that humanity even the best of us are still fallible, sinful creatures.

I love the Psalms for the way that almost every human emotion is found within their sacred words.  Love, joy, anger, repentance, forgiveness, acceptance and grief.  All are the culmination of the human experience.  Why are we conditioned to limit ourselves to just one?

As we read the 51st Psalm, we are compelled to hear the struggle and strain in the voice of the author.  There is an sense of urgency, a pleading taking place; we can hear the quiver of the Psalmist’s voice, visualize him/her holding back tears; this is no ordinary prayer, no ordinary call to God.

There is something more that is plaguing the soul, the spirit, the mind of the author.  God is seen as a God of justice and mercy, but only to those who follow in the ways of the Lord and keep the commandments…. right?

Could the God of all Creation care about little ol’ me?  We are about to find out.

As followers of Christ we have chosen this day to begin a journey that begins in sorrow, a journey that will test our faith, a journey that will remind us of our unworthiness of God’s grace, mercy and reconciliation and ultimately a journey that will end with the overwhelming grace that is afforded to everyone.

So come along we have a journey to take.

PRAYER:  God of Lent and of the journey, make your presence know to us this Lenten season that we are renewed by your Spirit as we travel a long and dusty road.  May your abiding presence compel us to stay the course and focus our eyes on the scandalous cross in Jerusalem.  In Christ’s Holy and Loving name, Amen.