This morning, I am preparing for this evening's Ash Wednesday service in which we are reminded of our mortality, of our sinfulness and need to repent, and of God's great grace. In the midst of this preparation, I stepped outside into the most GLORIOUS day. It is absolutely beautiful out there. I wondered how can I go back in and write about the darkness in our lives when this glorious light beckons me?
There are many metaphors here and probably many more that come to your mind. So offer just a few thoughts, a few "acorns" that may grow into something bigger or may simply lie dormant on the ground. They are not particularly connected to each other except they are nuts that have fallen from the same tree.
1. How often do we choose to stay inside in the darkness rather that going out and reveling in the light?
2. Tonight we will bear the smudge of ash, a cross - the mark of the Christ - upon our foreheads. In this wonderful, glorious, beautiful world created by God, am I merely a smudge of ash, or am I the mark of Christ?
3. I stepped out for the purpose of taking trash to the curb. Up and down my street, there are trash cans and bags waiting to be taken away. If it were not for the trash truck I hear in the culdesac just now, and those who do this dirty job of taking away all our refuse, the trash would build up and mar this gorgeous day and the neigborhood in general. It would get smelly around here pretty quickly. Jesus does this dirty work in our lives - taking away the trash, the sin, all that separates us from the glory of God - but, we must first take it to the curb. We must first acknowledge that in our lives which is sin, which keeps us from experiencing the love of God, and choose to turn from it.
4. Last night someone asked me about the passages in the Bible that tell us to fear God. I talked about fear of God in terms of awe rather than being afraid. When I look around me on this particular day - and view God's creation - I stand in awe of the great one who creates such beauty. But, I cannot be afraid. I can only rejoice and feel the warmth and light of the sun flowing over me. For today,I dance before the greatness of God rather than tremble.