Ash Wednesday and our Lenten Journey
Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also (Matthew 6:20-21)
A man was once bothered with continual ringing in his ears, bulging eyes and a flushed face. Over a period of three years, he went from doctor to doctor to find out what was wrong. One took out his tonsils, one his appendix, and another pulled all his teeth. He even tried the goat gland treatment in Switzerland, all to no avail. Finally, one doctor told him there was no hope. He had six months to live.
The poor fellow quit his job, sold all his belongings and decided to live it up in the time he had left. He went to his tailor and ordered several suits and shirts. The tailor measured his neck and wrote down 16. The man corrected him: The tailor measured again: 16. But the man insisted that he'd always worn a size 15.
"Well, all right," said the tailor, "but don't come back here complaining to me if you have ringing ears, bulging eyes and a flushed face!"
The poor man in the story wandered down many roads trying to solve his medical problem. Unfortunately, his issue wasn't medical. It was from the clothes he was wearing.
This story prompted me to start thinking about the journey of faith we make. How many avenues do we travel, looking for hope, peace and fulfillment? Yet all along Jesus is inviting us to experience a love from God that can make us whole.
I don't know about you, but I have attempted to walk down several avenues. Some of those avenues have been named "the search for success", "concern about my reputation," "wanting to be liked", "overeating". I am sure I could think of others as well. But the bottom line is that none of these avenues has brought peace to my life. Yet what has brought peace and what is bringing a sense of wholeness is knowing that I am loved by God.
My hope and prayer is that as you look at your life and the avenues you have traveled down, that you will come to the conclusion that the road you really want to be on is the one that brings you closer to God and God's love. This week we begin the church season called Lent. Ash Wednesday is what starts this Lenten journey. It is an invitation and a beginning. The invitation is that we take time (intentional time) over these next 40 days to walk closer with God. The beginning is simply to make the commitment to take steps that help you experience God's grace in your life.
Loving God, thank you for giving us new opportunities to commit and recommit to you. Help us live into deeper relationship with you, so you can live through us to touch our world. Give us courage. Give us hope. Help our Church to be a faithful witness of your love and grace. Lead us on this Lenten journey. In the hope that Jesus offers us, Amen