BLOG ARCHIVES

  • PEOPLE OF ASHES AND THE CROSS 2013

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Theology

    No Comments

    (post originally appeared on Feb 23, 2012)

    As I sat in the rows of an Anglican Church on Ash Wednesday, I was struck by an idea- those who are in Christ are marked and sealed as a community of the cross.  Those in churches who observe Lent and Ash Wednesday receive ash on the forehead as a sign of repentance and our mortality.  As I wrote on last year’s Ash Wednesday,

    Candles and Cross“We are reminded that we are dust, and to dust we shall all one day return (Gen 3:19).  Nevertheless, in the bad news of our condition, we are given a glimpse of hope. The ash placed on the forehead is in the form of a cross, and it is the reminder of the good news that, though we might be crushed by our enemies (as the psalmists often reminds us), we can look to the “founder and perfecter of the faith” for ultimate preservation.”

    For those who are in Christ, we are sealed as a community of the cross.  The ash on our foreheads points us to the reminder that we are shaped by the cross of Christ.  Others in the congregation also are marked in the same manner, which leads to the recognition that we are all in life together.  We are rooted in Christ and in the community of the Church.  We are a people who are shaped by the cross- the reality that Christ was crucified, is risen, and will come again.

    Indeed, we are but dust and to dust we shall return. While we have contemplated the ultimate destiny of all humanity on Ash Wednesday, let us also find comfort for being in Christ.  For those who are in Christ, returning to dust is but an end to the beginning of the story.  As I was reminded in a post by Jordan Ballor at Acton, death will put an end to sinning (Luther once said that while we are here on earth all we can do is sin!).   We shall find rest as well, as eternal life transcends the false assumptions of one big harp-playing concert.  Life after life after death will be glorious.  So take heart, for God shall raise you up in glory from the mortal dust of our bodies!

    But for now we wait, and serve the King of Kings, for Christ shall come again.  Amen.

  • PEOPLE OF ASHES AND THE CROSS

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Liturgy

    2 Comments

    As I sat in the rows of an Anglican Church on Ash Wednesday, I was struck by an idea- those who are in Christ are marked and sealed as a community of the cross.  Those in churches who observe Lent and Ash Wednesday receive ash on the forehead as a sign of repentance and our mortality.  As I wrote last week,

    We are reminded that we are dust, and to dust we shall all one day return (Gen 3:19).  Nevertheless, in the bad news of our condition, we are given a glimpse of hope.    The ash placed on the forehead is in the form of a cross, and it is the reminder of the good news that, though we might be crushed by our enemies (as the psalmists often reminds us), we can look to the “founder and perfecter of the faith” for ultimate preservation.

    For those who are in Christ, we are sealed as a community of the cross.  The ash on our foreheads points us to the reminder that we are shaped by the cross of Christ.  Others in the congregation also are marked in the same manner, which leads to the recognition that we are all in life together.  We are rooted in Christ and in the community of the Church.  We are a people who are shaped by the cross- the reality that Christ was crucified, is risen, and will come again.

    Indeed, we are but dust and to dust we shall return. While we have contemplated the ultimate destiny of all humanity on Ash Wednesday, let us also find comfort for being in Christ.  For those who are in Christ, returning to dust is but an end to the beginning of the story.  As I was reminded in a post by Jordan Ballor at Acton,  death will put an end to sinning (Luther once said that while we are here on earth all we can do is sin!).   We shall find rest as well, as eternal life transcends the false assumptions of one big harp-playing concert.  Life after life after death will be glorious.  So take heart, for God shall raise you up in glory from the mortal dust of our bodies!

    But for now we wait, and serve the King of Kings, for Christ shall come again.  Amen.

  • ASH WEDNESDAY

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Liturgy

    No Comments

    Below is a passage I read in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer at a church service this afternoon.  It offers an insightful passage that helps set the stage for a time of reflection on our frailty:

    Dear People of God:

    The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting.  This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism.  It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

    I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.

    More thoughts will come in tomorrow’s post on what it means to be a people shaped by the story of Jesus, the crucified and risen Lord.  So for today, I invite you again to join the historic, catholic Church and walk in this special season.