(Never mind the fact that it’s now officially Thursday)
My current facebook status is this: As you bear your ashes, remember, it is kindness that leads to repentance.
An often overlooked bit of scripture I think, what with the threat of eternal damnation doing a fine job ushering folks into repentance these days. But, alas, that thought is better left for another time.
This evening, I wore ashes on my forehead for a period of time. As they were drawn as a cross by the pastor, he uttered, “Remember, from dust you came. To dust you shall return.” All we are is dust in ….no wait. It was only the first two lines. I’m confusing them with something else. I’m getting distracted. (Easily done when you’re keeping Vampire/Zombifying hours) Back to the ashes!
So, with ashes firmly imposed on the fore of my head, this great, wretched, tortoise race of a period called Lent has arrived. Though, I suppose it would have arrived with ashes not being imposed on my head just as well. Worn as a sign of repentance, I made a mental list of all my trangressions…no, most likely not even close to all. I made a list of prominent transgressions of which it is suggested I repent. I’ll share a few here:
I am angry. I am prideful. Self-centered and selfish. Mistrusting and greedy! And perhaps the winner, I am rather unforgiving.
Today, as each day in the life of a follower of Christ, I was called to repent. But, really, when I stopped to think about it…is it really my intention to truly “repent” of these things? Repent means to turn away from…essentially, turn my back on and walk away from. And I’m completely honest when I say, it really seems I have no intention of doing that, at least regarding a few of the things mentioned and unmentioned. For a certain number of them, I seem content to just let them linger in dark cloud around me, whilst I maintain my wallowing nature. But still, I wore the ashes. Perhaps in a desperate attempt to plead for grace, while my feeble and weakened self wanes and collapses at the very foot of the cross. I wore them in silent contemplation. I wore them in tears. Tears offered up shakily to my savior to say “The burden is too great. I am at a loss.” In that moment, to ashes I return.
Yet there is a greater promise in those ashes. For while to dust I will infact (and often do) return, in those ashes is found the remembrance of grace and a promise that despite the soot, one day those ashes will rise, soaring into the glory of the resurrection.
Happy Lenting, All