Remember that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return.
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the first day in the season of Lent. As she did last year, Pastor Emily will be offering prayers and ashes at our local Starbucks. Unconventional? Perhaps. But, according to this article, which I hope you will take a moment to read, more and more Methodist Churches are taking Lent's message of repentance and forgiveness to the streets.
When Emily announces her intentions for Ash Wednesday last year, my husband, Danny, and I are elated. She will be at the Starbucks just up the street from 7:00 until 9:00 in the morning. As Danny works at home on Wednesday, we plan to go together and get Lent started off on the right foot.
As we are driving there, I wonder about what Emily will say, will pray, will do when imposing the ashes. My previous experiences have all been in formal church services. I really don't know what to expect.
But, I'm more than pleasantly surprised.
Emily hands each of us a small card with the purpose of Lent printed on one side and a Prayer for Forgiveness on the other. As we follow along, she reads the purpose of Lent aloud:
We put ashes on our heads to:
- Remind us of all those around the world who are mourning and suffering.
- Remind us that we all have sinned, we all need repentance, and we all must cling to the promises and love of Christ.
- Remind us that in the passage of time, we will all someday die.
- Remind us of Christ's suffering, death and resurrection.
- Remind us that in the midst of this, we are still called, named, claimed, and loved Children of God.
Wow! So humbling, yet so uplifting at the same time! Emily places the cross of ashes on our foreheads, and together we recite the Prayer for Forgiveness. This is the prayer I will leave with you today. May your Lenten season be filled with God's love, mercy and blessings!
I confess that I have not
loved you with my whole heart.
I have failed to be obedient.
I have not done your will.
I have broken your law.
I have rebelled against your love.
I have not loved my neighbors, and
I have not heard the cry of the needy.
Forgive me, I pray. Free me for joyful
obedience, through Jesus Christ,
my Lord. Amen.
REMINDER! Beginning tomorrow, visit Kennesaw United Methodist's website here for your daily Lenten devotions.