Friday, February 08, 2008
my right thumbnail still has a faint grey line from the ashes of ash wednesday. no manner of scrubbing and scraping could get those last few particles out...they linger to remind me of the foreheads that i touched. it is always so intense to mark the heads of the congregation. these are not people who are anonymous to me - they are people that i LOVE - it is exceedingly difficult to remind them that they are dust and to dust they will return. and, most likely, when they return to dust it will be me who says the last prayer over them, me who touches that same forehead with anointing oil, me who says the final amen before their coffin descends into the earth.
it is with great mourning and yet great hope that i approach lent...for we NEED Christ so desperately...and i know that my only hope...the only hope of my precious congregation comes in the resurrection of Jesus. so, although difficult to mark the foreheads of the big ones and little ones with the ashen cross, i can give them REAL hope - hope that will never disappoint.
therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. -Romans 5:1-5
may God remind you every day of this season of your deep need of Him.