DUST // Ash Wednesday 2.0

photoI was able to attend an Ash Wednesday service this afternoon. It was a different experience, i didn’t go to my church for the service because i was down town already and needed to be home quickly after the service. And tonight i have a meeting at church but it won't allow to attend the evening service. So i attended Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Nashville. It’s a absolutely beautiful church and reminds me how valuable aesthetics can be in worship but i felt the absence of my community as i sat alone taking in the service. It did afford me the space to think a bit extra and remember where i was a year ago on this day. The picture to the left speaks a thousand words of that story!

But there were a few parts to the Ash Wednesday service that really stood out to me this year.

The reading of Psalm 51. It just seems perfect! (i included it below)

The time spent confessing our sins.

The imposition of ashes. (pretty much what it's all about, right.)

And of course the Eucharist. (that fits every setting!)

These things, along with prayer and mediation, remembering the past year which hasn’t been the easiest of years just made this a really valuable time for me.

It’s hard to say i am looking forward to Lent, that’s like saying you like pain or punishment or something like that even though Lenten discipline is very different. But I am, i am really am looking forward to Lent. I am looking forward to this time of addition and subtract, purging my life of some unnecessary things and adding a thing or two that might aid in my spiritual journey. I am most excited about these 40 days of reflection, prayer & fasting, and seeking Jesus and journeying with him.

PSALM 51

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

(highlighted parts are are my favorites)

Grace and Peace erik