What a crazy week. Salem, we’re praying for you as you deal with power outages, water shortages, internet and cell service trouble, and the patience struggle through it all. Many of you have used a fireplace to stay warm this week. Those of you with wood-burning fireplaces have better access to real ashes than the rest of us for this recognition of Ash Wednesday. If you are able, you may want to mark your forehead with an ash cross today. At the very least, cross your forehead even as you read these words. Ash Wednesday is the first day of the traditional season of Lent (the 40 days prior to Easter, not counting Sundays). Lent is a season to repent, recognize, and remember.
One of the stories Jason did not preach on during our current Genesis series is Abraham pleading with God to spare the city of Sodom as recorded in Genesis 18. Abraham recognized his mortality as he spoke to the maker of heaven and earth. Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes…” (Genesis 18:27). That’s a pretty humble approach. God Almighty—the source of faith, love, joy, sunshine, heat, water, and all good things—deserves to be approached in this manner. Too often, though, we don’t approach God thinking we are nothing but dust and ashes. Instead, we demand, complain, whine, and forget. Today and throughout this Lenten season, may God help us repent of these, and all, our sins. We take for granted the blessings of good weather, shelter, food, and God’s continual presence. May God help us to recognize these and all our blessings. We forget that He is the one who has “the storehouses of the snow” (Job 38:22). Though these storehouses were lightened a bit through the snowfall we experienced this week, may we remember who holds the entire world in His hands.
Ash Wednesday is a day for humility and prayer. Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7). Salem, we pray that God lifts you up, even now during this time of need. He loves you and cares for you, now and for all eternity. Repent, recognize, and remember His grace and promises in Jesus, our Savior. God’s blessings to you now and always, even when snow flies in Texas.
Lord God, Your hand is mighty. We believe that You are with us and that Your love will never fail us. We admit that we have failed you. We repent and trust in Your gift of grace through Jesus. Give us hope when life feels hard. Give us patience when it’s wearing thin. Give us peace when chaos seems all around us. Today and every day, we cast our anxiety on You. Thank You for caring for us, loving us, and providing all that we need. We love You, Lord, and we pray in Your holy name. Amen.