“From ashes you have come, to ashes you will go.”
On the surface, this proclamation may sound really depressing, morbid and not very hopeful. That is exactly why these words are chosen. Listen for them if you elect to have a pastor or priest administer ashes on your forehead this Wednesday.
When you examine ashes in the bottom of a fireplace, there is no way to think of them as having any life at all. Spent, burned, useless, finished, dry – these offer a more apt description. Solomon, the wise monarch of Israel, employed similar words to describe who we are apart from God: nothing but ashes.
So, Christ-followers are invited to enter the period of Lent by engaging in a discipline of sacrifice, by giving things up, and by receiving an imposition of ashes. It’s a time to be reminded that apart from God – who raised Christ to life on Easter – we are nothing.
If you elect to sacrifice something for the next 40 days leading up to Easter, allow the experience and reflection to cause deeper dependence upon God who gives you life; who forms you in His image; who loves you and desires life for you!