Tonight, I will sit again in Ash Wednesday services, beginning Lent by admitting to my brokenness and bearing something more important than brokenness. These smudged ashes on the foreheads of everyone gathered here—beautiful, sooty reminders of loss and love that we did absolutely nothing to earn—these bodily, impermanent crosses—are evidence of Jesus’ scars and our own healing. I am oh so ready to receive this healing…as pure gift. This cross is not about death or making us all feel guilty and ashamed. This cross is about hope. It’s about looking for and rejoicing in the promise of new life and the everlasting love of God in Christ.
This message is an excerpt from “The scars under our ashes” by Elizabeth Hunter in the March 2019 issue of Café. Today is Ash Wednesday. The readings are Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Isaiah 58:1-12 (alternate); Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b–6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21.
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