Jesus, I begin my day in you, walking in the light of the one who lights the darkness
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,” (Isaiah 61:1-2)
Because Valentines Day fell on Wednesday, last night we held our Ash Wednesday service. I did apply ashes to the heads of those that attended our small gathering, but before I applied the ashes to their foreheads, I first anointed them with oil. Individuals took turns sitting on a chair and members surrounded them and laid hand on them. And I took oil and anointed their foreheads speaking the words of Isaiah above over them. Because that anointing is on all who have been baptized in Christ and received the Holy Spirit. In Christ, your identity, who you are is a source of good news to the poor, love to those depressed and heartbroken, freedom to the addicted, and the voice of the Gospel of grace and hope in your community.
Then I applied ashes to their head and said, “In Christ you are all these things, however you in yourself are dust, and to dust you shall return.” In ourselves we are but dust that dies, in Christ filled with the breath of the Holy Spirit we are beings of life. “then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (Genesis 2:7)
Do we need to embrace the reality that each of us in our flesh will die, yes. However, Jesus never spoke of his crucifixion and death without also including his resurrection. Jesus told us, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt 16:25) The focus is not on the ashes of loss but the anointing of life! “to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning,” (Isaiah 61:3).
Ash Wednesday and Lent is a season of repentance and dying to things, good things, that we have made idols of in our lives so that out of their ashes we may have life and life abundantly. Jesus tells us “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) Yes, we were physically born into a body that will perish, but that is not our focus or who we are. Who we are and our identity is in Christ and our spiritual birth, our being born again in the Spirit. “For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. (Psalm 103: 23)
My family, I pray today you will remember the ashes, but embrace your anointing. That beginning today and the next 38 days of Lent you will repent and die to idols that perish, so your identity will be one of life and love. In Jesus name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!!!
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Gary Liederbach- Lead Follower
One Direction Community
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