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.
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.
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:
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/