Community in Action February 8, 2021

He does not treat us as our sins deserve

or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his love for those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,

so far has he removed

our transgressions from us.

Psalm 103:10-12

    This verse is not only one of my favorites it is a foundational pillar of our faith. Without this verse we would paying a high toll, in fact we owe so much we could never earn our way into God’s favor, even with Fastrak.

    The only word I would translate differently to fit today’s theological understanding is the word fear. I would translate it as revere, I don’t think fear is how we best relate to God. Perhaps we would be anxious as we would before the Queen of England, but certainly not fear. Maybe overwhelmed or overcome, but certainly a God who professes to love us and asks us to do the same towards him does not want us to cower before him.

    That being said I think God wants us to be real with him. God wants us to admit that we have sinned, when we have missed the mark or turned our backs on him. God wants us to acknowledge we have separated ourselves from that which is good, kind, and loving.

    Too often, once we sin or fail to be the person calls us to be, we beat ourselves up. We remember the things in the past which tear us own. We think of the times we struck our or didn’t even have the courage to step up to the plate. Those times when we refused to join the game, to use some baseball analogies.

    Perhaps the best thing we need to do at that point is ask for a timeout. Not so much for God or for the game, but for ourselves. A moment when we can again acknowledge God is our creator and God will stand with us, God will help us get back in the game we just need to refocus not on what was, but on what could be.

    This is one reason I love Ash Wednesday. I gives me an opportunity to face my marred humanity. Ash Wednesday is kind of like this pandemic. It asks us to reset our lives. It allows us to reevaluate our priorities. Ash Wednesday gives us a time to admit we have gone astray and that we need help. And the wonder of Ash Wednesday is not just admitting we need help, but we have help from the Master of the Universe. That is from where our helps comes.

    The Ashes we place on our foreheads are a sign, to all, that we have admitted our humanity is not enough to get us through life with love, joy, and delight. We have come face to face with our mortality and we want more out of this life that just gliding through the rivers, be they calm or turbulent.

    The Ashes help us remember we are made from the dust and dirt of the ground. And it is out of dirt that new life can grow, but we need to have a planter, someone who plants new seed into the ground, a new heart, and we need a cultivator, someone who clears the weeds and gives us nutrients. It is then after a time of growing we bring forth the fruit for which we were made. We live into the plant God designed us to be.

    So, whether you join us on the 17th, or not, please know that God wants you to be come more than you are, as much as you can be, with a new start, nurtured by His love.

    Starting again with you,

    Pastor Randy

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