I've been reminded of mortality these past weeks. Grief has weighed heavy and my heart has groaned for light. But we bear burdens for His Name's sake, that in casting them at His feet, He might be glorified.
And it startled me. The posters went up announcing Ash Wednesday service here at school and they pierced me.
No, Lord, not forty more days of pain and grief and of being faced with my mortal depravity. My heart is ash and the ashes haven't even been applied yet.
But they have, He tells me.
Remember the day I set you free? He asks. The day I took on your ashes and all this heavy pain beyond anything you could ever know and I made it something beautiful? Yes, I've already become the ashes, and mingled with blood they have been applied to your soul.
And all this pain is just a reminder to anticipate joy.
Because how can we rejoice in joy when we've never known grief, and how can we revel in hope when everything is alright and don't we need a foundation of brokenness for our soaring hope in wholeness?
So this is the first ritual that I share with you all. The one that meets me like grace when He knows I most need it. This first day of a forty-day season that pierces my heart with truth: I am dust, and to dust I will return. To know my own heart, and to remember His ashes applied there - ashes that will never wear away.
Tomorrow, to begin a fast (of your choosing before God), to strive after Him with all you are, only to be reminded that He pursues you to glory. We can never measure up. And the law was written by a God who knew we would break it, and so see our need for the broken Saviour.
In your grief, in mine, let us remember His, and anticipate