My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.  Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.  (Job 42:5-6)

Today is Ash Wednesday – a day meant for remembering our frailty and committing ourselves to repentance. 

I don’t know if you or your church mark this day in the traditional ways of wearing ashes on your forehead and preparing for the Lenten season ahead or whether you don’t usually observe this day at all.

But perhaps for just a moment today we could all pause and remember that we are but dust. 

And our ability to rise from the ashes came at great cost to our God.

We wear “a crown of beauty instead of ashes” because there was One who wore a crown of thorns (Isaiah 61:3).

And so it is appropriate that we mourn our sin that held Him to the cross and re-commit ourselves to walking in His ways. 

During Lent this year, I have decided not to fast or abstain from any particular thing.  Instead, I’ve committed to spending more time reflecting on Christ’s suffering.  Embarrassingly, I will admit that it’s not usually my primary focus for the duration of this annual season.  However, this year I want to mark this time as the Church has traditionally done.

Each day from now until Easter, I will be writing a brief reflection on a passage of Scripture from the Gospels (usually from John or Mark), in order to to recount Jesus’ final days before the crucifixion.  This is definitely going to be a challenge for me.  I’ve never done anything quite like it before, and it will ultimately mean that other things in my daily life will necessarily fall away for a time to make room for this reflection. 

My goal in this is not to meet an arbitrary writing quota or proclaim that I have some great insight.

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings … (Philippians 3:10)

As Good Friday and the cross approach, I am praying that God would show Himself to me in a new way this year and that I would be changed as a result. 

I pray that this Lenten season we would all draw near to Christ, that we may know Him in His sufferings and – praise Him – in His resurrection.

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