Psalm 45:10-11, 13-15

Listen to me, O royal daughter; take heart to what I say. Forget your people and your homeland far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. [...] The bride, a princess, waits within her chambers, dressed in a gown woven with gold. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful, enthusiastic procession as they enter the king's palace!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is here, but what is its purpose? It's the seventh Wednesday before Easter Sunday and the first day in the season of Lent preparing for the Holy Week and Resurrection. The practice of putting ashes on the forehead comes "as a sign of humility before God, a symbol of mourning and sorrow at the death that sin brings into the world. It not only prefigures the mourning at the death of Jesus, but also places the worshiper in a position to realize the consequences of sin" (CRI/Voice, The Season of Lent).

Ash Wednesday is just the beginning of a long journey to the Cross and before the cross there is nothing to do but be humbled. It's the beginning of inward reflection as we look into the face of Christ. It's the beginning of repentance as we see the sorrow our own sin is before God and others. It's the continuation of hope, for where there is humility, Christ, and repentance there is always hope.

2 Corinthians 7:9-11

I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us.

For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

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