Ash Wednesday. The cross of gritty ashes is smeared on our foreheads, as the one who marks says, “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.” But that same cross-shaped mark tells another truth, remembering the crossed traced upon our foreheads in Holy Baptism: “Child of God, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and marked with the cross of Christ forever.”
These markings tell the central truths of our lives. We are dust, with so short a time to live and to laugh and to love. It also tells the eternal truth, that each of us is a child of God, beloved, the delight of God’s heart. We are dust. We are children of God. In all of this, we are people joined to each other and to God through our baptism into Christ.
On Ash Wednesday, we are summoned into the Lenten invitation: “As disciples of Jesus, we are called to a discipline that contends against evil and resists whatever leads us away from love of God and neighbor.” In your observation of Lent, remember that you are Easter people, wrapped in the eternal embrace of God’s love and promise of new life for you. In your observation of Lent, do not pretend that we are not dust and that there are no deserts and Good Fridays for those around us.
I pray for you a Lenten season of holy reflection, quiet joy in the love of our forgiving Savior. May you have a clear view of all that leads you away from love of God and neighbor. And, we pray, for an Easter of renewed commitment to bringing the fullness of Christ’s love and life and grace to all people.
+ Pastor Steve Klemz
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Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Rocky Mountain Synod
ZION EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
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