Community in Action February 18, 2021

There is neither Jew nor Gentile,

neither slave nor free,

nor is there male and female, 

for you are all one

in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

    Last night we observed Ash Wednesday. It was a different service since it was done virtually and we decided instead of having people impose ashes on their foreheads we would ask everyone to impose oil.

    I think the oil was much more accessible and the whole point of Ash Wednesday is to remember God desires to bless us. It is when we come before God in all our vulnerability that we can unabashedly receive our redemption.

    One of the rituals the Jews followed in their lives was a rending or tearing of garments when they were distraught over something. It was an opportunity to exhibit their true feelings when things weren’t going well, whether it be because of their own actions or someone else’s.

    I think we have tried too hard in our society to separate physical actions from our feelings. It is good to be in control of our emotions, but it is also part of our make up to viscerally act out our sorrow and our joy. I know when riding roller coasters if I can’t scream going down those quick long drops I feel bottled up when the ride is done. If I can scream along with everyone around me it is a relief to have acted out my feelings.

    So confession of our failings, mistakes, and sins allows us to be real before God and then when redemption is assured we can celebrate, we can more readily receive God’s blessing.

    Ash Wednesday not only gives us an opportunity to become clean with God, but allows us to encourage each other to do the same. We all are in need of redemption or forgiveness and so in receiving redemption we all become one in Christ.

    There is a certain joy when we can celebrate together and especially when the celebration is uninhibited, we can celebrate exuberantly. The lows are real, but then so can be the highs.

    It is wonderful to realize at the end of the Ash Wednesday service that we have been forgiven, we have been redeemed, we have been made new.

    So if you weren’t able to watch the service last night you can still go to youtube to see it, but more importantly you can confess you sins and then receive the forgiveness from God. You can signify reception of that forgiveness by administering a bit of oil on your forehead in the sign of a cross.

    Know that God longs to be reconciled with you and to bless you with his grace, mercy, and peace. God also longs for you to be part of a faith community to give you support, encouragement, and challenge.

    So receive God’s blessing and celebrate your oneness with God and all those who profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior.


    Pastor Randy

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