Writing a Prayer of Confession

It is not often that I confess in writing. Most often, I confess verbally.

There is something different about putting your sins down on paper. Seeing the words on the page makes them more tangible and seem more ugly. The sheet of paper is filled up with things of which I am not proud in my life. Yet, it is also cleansing. There is something powerful in naming the places where I have messed up and am in need of God’s grace.

I have written a prayer of confession on Ash Wednesday for thirteen years. Sometimes, it seems, that I find myself writing some of the same things from year to year. All too often, I seem to cling unintentionally to some of the thoughts, words, and actions which separate me from God and other people. There are areas where God has been at work to help me make progress and there are new areas which I have not found necessary to confess in years past. All of this is part of the journey of going on toward perfect love of God and neighbor.

Each of the years that I have written my prayers in this way, I have also had the opportunity to place them in a fire to be burned. This is a cleansing ritual and helps me begin the journey toward Easter. I am so glad to be on this journey again.

Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Repent and believe the gospel.

Sunday’s Palms are Wednesday’s Ashes

Each year, I set aside some of the palm branches which we use on Palm Sunday to celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalsem. Over the months they lose some of their color and they completely dry. Then some days before the beginning of the season of Lent, I burn them. While the ashes are still warm, I use a mortar and pestle to finely grind them to be used for Ash Wednesday.

Today was that day.

Sunday’s palms are Wednesday’s ashes…

Day and Data after Ash Wednesday

I preached last night at the Ash Wednesday service at Resurrection Central. I believe that God used me to introduce and remind people of God’s story, their story and to offer the invitation to connect the two.

Throughout the day yesterday, I found that I was getting a significant traffic spike here at Thoughts of Resurrection. I found that it was coming through searches. Here is a comparison of the search terms that people used to visit my blog since Monday:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Search Views
thoughts of resurrection 4
does god answer all of a persons prayers 2
andrew conard 2
proper dress attire for church 1
different attire on church 1
lydia circle 1
prayer of thanks for resurrection 1
god answers prayer 1
icon: the trinity 1
wikipedia pastoral education 1

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Search Views
ash wednesday sermons 7
ash wednesday sermon 5
sermon central and ash wed. service 2
10 prayers god answers 2
ash wednesday 2009 sermons 2
andrew conard 2
lent mars hill bible church 2
proper church attire 1
god answers prayers in three ways 1
pastoral prayers 1

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Search Views
ash wednesday sermon 46
ash wednesday sermons 17
ash wednesday thoughts 4
methodist fasting rules 3
church attire 2
united methodist book of discipline onli 2
ash wednesdaysermon 2
ash wed sermon 2
andrew conard 2
ash wednesday sermon umc 2

What does this data tell you?

2009 Ash Wednesday Sermon

I am preparing to preach the Ash Wednesday service tomorrow at Resurrection. I have been working to pull it together and it will get there, but it is not quite there yet. Would you pray for me today?

If you are in the Kansas City area, I invite you to worship with us for Ash Wednesday at 7:00 PM in the sanctuary on Resurrection’s Central Campus. I hope to see you tomorrow!

You can check out my sermon as I move toward completion at http://bit.ly/g3RsW If you find it interesting or helpful, I invite you to leave a comment on this post and subscribe to my blog via RSS to hear more.

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday – the beginning of the season of Lent. As we begin this season, I want to give you two invitations.

Worship at the Ash Wednesday service tonight at 7:00 PM. This service is a time of reflection, renewal and repentance.

Pray and read scripture each day in preparation for Lent using the Lent Devotional Guide. You may be able to pick up a copy after the Ash Wednesday service or you can subscribe online at this address – http://lentdevotionalguide.wordpress.com/