Ashes, Ashes, we all fall down

18 Feb

Hello friends,  Did you know that this child’s game of Ring-a-round the rosy is dated back to the days of the black plague.  It referred to the flowers that were used to mask the smell of the diseased bodies and ended with the proclamation that, at some point, we all died.

I realize these are not happy thoughts for this morning, however, I think we spend a lot of energy producing happy thoughts and acting as if death doesn’t happen.  The reality of our lives is that all things die and our lives will end.  The question is how will we spend the days that we have been given.

The media spent a lot of time talking about “Fat Tuesday” and Mardi Gras yesterday, but zero time talking about Ash Wednesday today.  And of course, Ash Wednesday is the reason that Mardi Gras exists (I know they would find another reason to party if it wasn’t to get ready for Lent.)

So, no one in our world is going to encourage you to think about the disciplines of Lent, or the meaning of Ash Wednesday.  They will not challenge you to think about the limits of your life or the reality of death.  And I am not writing these things to make you sad, but to remind all of us what a gift this day is, what grace we can find in each breath, because we are alive today.

In today scripture reading, Paul writes about looking a our lives and seeing, through God’s eyes, what is important and what is garbage.

Wednesday, The bankruptcy of outward righteousness

Philippians 3:1-16

Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord.  To write the same things to you is not troublesome to me, and for you it is a safeguard.  Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh! For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh— even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh.  If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more:circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of    Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.  Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.13 Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. 16 Only let us hold fast to what we have attained.

Blessings on you and this holy time of Lent.  Breath in the spirit of God and know that you are loved and precious and a vessel to share God’s love with God’s world.   Peace

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One Response to “Ashes, Ashes, we all fall down”

  1. Lauri Capwell February 19, 2015 at 12:52 am #

    Thank you again for sharing this discipline. I am sitting in my chair, wrapped in a robe and blankets, fighting a sore throat, sneezes and chills. I missed church because I was not feeling well, so to be able to read your post and reflect on the scriptures is wonderful!
    I have a story to share…one that happened just today, before I read your blog. I was speaking with a co-worker who was concerned about his forecast for the quarter. He confessed that his heart wasn’t in it. His brother-in-law was just diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer, his mother had been hospitalized, and his youngest son is giving him heartache. I was reminded of how precious life is and after my conversation, called John to tell him how much I appreciate him. Little did I know that it would be part of today’s guidance.
    Thank you again for sharing and for accompanying me on my spiritual journey.

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