The service on Sunday February 26 will begin with an invitation to Lent, confession and the imposition of ashes. Join in person or through the usual zoom link found on the parish FB page.
If joining through media, prepare your space with bread and wine for communion, and oil, water or ash. Place it in a special area, and light a candle if you wish.
Here is a short reflection I offer to mark the beginning of lent.
Blessed are we,
A mess of contradictions
In our delusions and deep hopes
In our fragility and finitude (limitations)
Reflection on Matthew 6:1-6; 16-21
We read scripture and hear Jesus say not to disfigure our face with ashes when we fast, and then we stand to receive a cross of ash on our forehead. It seems to be a contradiction. Today we are reminded that the mark is not meant as a symbol of piety but rather it is a reminder of our mortality and a reminder of our dependence on God’s grace.
We open our hands to the hopeless, the homeless, the addicted, hoping for their life to turn around, and then we proceed in the delusion it could never happen to us. I remember being astonished when a prison guard told my college class that his actions toward inmates were always generous because “you never know when you might be the one behind bars”…. I foolishly thought that was ridiculous because I thought we had control to be free. I’ve learned that prisons take many different forms, …. When disaster strikes, when health diagnoses are terminal, when dearest relationships crumble through betrayal… The prison of grief and loss surrounds us. Ashes of that loss remind us of our mortality and our complete dependence on Gods grace.
We carefully set up a system for security and wealth, planning for stability for our later years. We set aside finances for the future… a future that quickly disappears as change shakes what we expected. This earthly life is fragile and even living rebelliously has limitations. In the ashes of our assumptions and plans we are reminded of Gods grace.
We are reminded that the cross marked us in our baptism and we are named child of God. Nothing can separate us from that promise.
As we proceed into the church season of Lent we are invited to receive the ash marking of the cross in humble gratitude for the one who loves us without reservation, who forgives us without conditions and who cleanses us completely through the life, death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus. Amen
the Lord creator took me as dust from the earth,
and formed me into a living being,
breathing into me the breath of life.
God honoured me,
setting me as ruler upon the earth over all things visible,
and made me a companion of the angels.
But Satan the deceiver,
using the serpent as instrument,
enticed me by food-
parted me from the glory of God,
and gave me over to the earth and to the lowest depths of the earth.
But in compassion, O Saviour, call me back again!