Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
As Christians approach the Lenten season of contemplation, reflection, self-denial, temptation, sacrifice and gratitude, we are reminded that our transformation is internal, not external. We may wear ashes on our forehead as a reminder of our dusty origins and how dead we are in our sin, but it is mere symbol, like wearing our laments like torn sackcloth.
Because of Christ, we are so much more than ashes. God’s breath powered our hearts to beat, our lungs to swell, our mouths to worship. It is the rending of our flesh that matters, just as Christ was rendered on the cross.
Because of Christ, our ashes are blown into flame that burns with His Spirit; our hearts are open and ready.
As Christians we will walk together through these dark Lenten days of preparation, casting light and warmth in the midst of our earthly struggles.
Ashes no more.