February 24, 2021
Welcome to Ash Wednesday and the first day of Lent. It is common tradition in some churches to host services this day and for leaders to draw a cross on believers’ foreheads with ashes, saying to each, “You are dust, and to dust you shall return.” This tradition began in the 11th century, but since the 1970s has become an increasingly popular way to find a multi-sensory experience to connect the body and spirit in worship.
Throughout the Old Testament, in sorrow, people commonly tear their clothes, put on sack cloth and sit in ashes. These symbols are a physical display of sorrow over our fallenness and separation from God’s holy perfection.
We begin this Lenten journey in ashes, but by the end of our time together, the Lord will have redeemed these ashes for abundant life.
Lord Jesus, open our minds and hearts for what you have for us in this next six and a half weeks of focusing on your life, death, and resurrection. Mold us to be like you. Let that which is simply dust blow away and your indestructible life fill us with more and more of you.
For today, read and soak in Psalm 51:1-12.
Then, re-write your favorite sections from this passage, turning them into your own prayer of confession, or a response of your choosing in a journal.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
This post was an excerpt from my new book Along with Jesus: An Easter Devotional. Grab your copy here to journey along with Jesus in the book of Luke this Lenten season as we anticipate Easter Sunday!
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