Ash Wednesday: Be Reconciled To God

Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return (BCP 265). This is where it all begins and this is where it all ends. From the dust of the earth God created us and look at us now! Great and small, rich and poor, free and enslaved, we all occupy each of these phases throughout this journey called life, never really understanding the difference between the contrasts and never discerning their mystery. In reality, seeking this knowledge can occur at anytime in our life. However, the season of Lent within the Church is our official opportunity to understand and discern. When you see the ash upon the foreheads of those marked as Christ’s own, know that you are not alone.

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

2 Corinthians 5:20b – 6:10 …we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God …and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 

Psalm 103:8-14

as far as the east is from the west,
   so far he removes our transgressions from us. 

For he knows how we were made;
   he remembers that we are dust. 

BCP – Book of Common Prayer – according to the use of Episcopal Church

Beginning February 29 – March 28, Wednesday’s Blog, follow Crustybread Lenten Meditation: See My Face, Hear My Voice.

God’s Grace In Suffering

The suffering we face today began with disobedience. Thus, taking responsibility is after the fact. Therefore, what is more important for us today is first discerning the will of God. Because if we can discern the will of God and through baptism, make the decision to follow God, it stands to reason that we will make decisions that glorify God. Yet even today we don’t always make the right decision and furthermore make excuses for the wrong decisions that we make. Discernment is more involved than just understanding difference. It involves actively using our senses in relationship with how we experience God. It is important that we understand not only our relationship with God but also, God’s relationship with us. Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews reminds us of this relationship, for a little while made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor. Because of this we have an obligation to pay greater attention to who we are as God created us. Although it was a decision of disobedience by the first human beings that brought the suffering we face to this day, God in history has continued to deliver his people through obedience. If we suffer for choosing to do the right thing and go the way of the Lord, that being obedience to God’s will, then let it be so. For not only is history on our side, through Christ we know that our salvation is perfect through suffering. Who then can be against us? Who then will dare to ask who we are? Our discernment and decisions we choose will make it clear.

Disobedience and Excuses; God’s Relationship With UsWho are you?

The Value Of Salt

Friday

Have you ever tried salt substitutes? It’s been my experience that there is no substitute for salt. If I want true salt flavor, I need to add salt. The value of salt is it’s taste and it’s ability to enhance food in a way that no other spice is able to accomplish, not to mention a host of other household uses. Salt at its beginning, has been and remains a valuable commodity. In the same way, from the very beginning, we who are made in His image are of great value to God. By the same token if we desire to be in relationship with God then He must be equally as valuable if not more so to us. The world understands, that so valuable is the reasoning, emotional human being (referred by Paul as God’s temple) that it would have us believe that we are of value only to the world. It’s not true. We were of value to God well before the world, as we know it, existed, and because of who we are, we became “valuable” to one another. Unfortunately, some today still use that value for their own purpose. Much of the world’s success in this abuse is assisted by our own inability to discern who we are and to who and what we give authority in our lives. Sometimes this foolishness of the world draws both the wise and the un-wise. In this age and the age to come, it is imperative that we continue to discern the foolishness in the world so that we remember to seek God’s wisdom. Even as the body of knowledge (wisdom) within a society changes, the salt of the earth will remain the same, without substitutes, valuable in the eyes of the Lord.

Matthew 5:11-16 ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?

Luke 12:22-24 He said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,… Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

1 Corinthians 3:16-23 If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.

1 John 4:16b-19 God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them…. We love because he first loved us.