Ash Wednesday

I like Ash Wednesday. For me it is kind of like New Year’s Day in the same way that for many people New Year’s Day is the opportunity to begin again, to get back on track. That is what Ash Wednesday is for me:   A reminder of who I am; and a call to get back on track in following Christ Jesus.   It is an opportunity to begin again.

On Ash Wednesday I am reminded of who and what I am:

“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

There is something rather freeing in all of this.

Ash Wednesday embraces humility. Contrary to what many think, I see “humility” as a positive. The author Esther de Waal writes, “…our immediate reaction is to think that it (humility) means somebody who is somehow limp and ineffectual; in church circles it conjures up the picture of the obsequiously pious, altogether the non-person we should all hate to be. This is unfortunate since the word itself (derived from the same root as humus, earth), on the contrary suggest that we should be profoundly earthed, that we should face up to the truth about our human condition.” (emphasis mine.)

I like this understanding of humility: “face up to the truth about our human condition.”

And so it is on Ash Wednesday, that I am reminded “that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” And in that reminder, I am called to wake up and face the truth about who I am…  I am called to wake up and face the truth about the condition of my heart, my soul, my life…  I am called to wake up and face the truth about Who God is.   And it is in waking up that I seek, by the grace and mercy of God, to respond… to rise up… to follow Him… and to let Him give me Life.

It is at this point that the Lenten journey begins.

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