pastor's corner - March 1st
It began with ashes last Wednesday. “From dust you came and dust you will return.” A stark reminder of the fragility of life. Author, Rob Bell notes, “For the seven weeks leading up to Resurrection Sunday, we practice sober awareness of our frailty, sins and smallness. It starts on Ash Wednesday when those ashes are traced on our foreheads in the shape of the cross, a tactile reminder of our origins in the dust. From there we come, and to there we will go.”
Thankfully the significance of the ashes doesn’t end there. Ashes (which were often paired with fasting in scripture) were an external sign of internal grief for personal sins against God and humanity (Jonah 3). They were also an outward symbol of lamenting the tragic brokenness of this world (2 Sam 13:19). Ashes remind us that we are in desperate need of a Savior.
This Savior is the reason we fast for forty days. We fast from the things our flesh desires in order to feast on for the very thing we need the most, Jesus. We follow in the footsteps of Jesus who was lead by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to fast for forty days. It was there that our true King had a showdown with the evil one. This enemy offered Jesus the kingdoms of this world. But Jesus’ loyalty to the Kingdom of God was unwavering. A reminder that Lent is a time to let God’s kingdom gain another square inch of our hearts, minds and lives.
Fast-forward from last Wednesday and now we are talking about the unusual way this kingdom arrived. It may surprise some to learn that the true King of kings wasn’t born within the safe and warm confines of palace walls. He was born into the harsh cruel world he came to save and his life was in danger from the start. Which is why the Lord says, “Get up and take the child…” to Mary and Joseph. Thankfully they take heed of God's warning and “get up and take” Jesus to Egypt and barely escape King Herod’s ruthless genocide of boys in Bethlehem.
But I found Jesus' “unplanned” detour away from Israel a bit frustrating this week. It seems like a huge letdown in the grand scheme of the narrative. "Didn’t God’s people wait long enough for the Messiah to come and as soon as he arrives he is whisked away from their presence?!" Regardless their wait for the Savior must resume. Thankfully after Herod’s death, the true king of Israel finally returns when Mary and Joseph receive another divine message to “get up and take” Jesus to Nazareth.
Ironically we are still there. We are a people who await the return of the one who came to save us. We fast and wear ashes looking forward to the day when sin, brokenness and death will be no more. We live every day with the very real knowledge that we need our Savior to come back. We await the return of the King.
Grace and peace,
Objects in Mirror
“Objects in The Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear”
“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed”. Have you ever found yourself looking back to a certain season of life? It’s perfectly natural for people to long for past mountain top experiences. While we all know it’s impossible to go back, we shouldn’t despair because our God is making all things new. Which means we can dream about the new joys coming our way.
Here are some helpful practices to embrace these truths:
Embrace. This Psalm reminds us that it is perfectly natural to celebrate and lament past milestones and seasons of life. Like the Psalmist we can reminisce with family and friends. But don’t forget to include God! He was present all along the way. “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago” (Psalm 77:11).“The LORD has done great things for us!” (Psalm 126:3).
Pray Pt.1.- Read Psalm 126 and thank God for those past mountain top moments. If you need to- lament with the Lord over what you have lost.
Pray Pt. 2- Reread Psalm 126 again and ask the Lord to reveal the new things he has in store for you. Spend time silently listening as God speaks to your mind and heart.
Journal/Share. Write down anything the Lord might be saying to you. Share these things with someone who will pray with you about them. It is quintessential we share our hopes with others. “Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).
Grace and peace,