Ashes to Ashes

ashesWelcome to the first post of the Creative Christian Perspectives blog. Thank you for coming on this journey of faith with me as we dialogue about what it means to be a Christian in our world today. I begin the discussion using my perspective as a senior product developer at a Christian publishing company, Creative Communications for the Parish.

We start this blog very appropriately, I think, on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the season in which we meditate and reflect on the life, suffering and death of our Savior for our salvation. It is a time to look closely at ourselves and our own faith life in light of the overarching message of Lent, which is “Repent and believe!”

Today is called Ash Wednesday because it is traditionally the day on which parishioners receive a cross of ashes on their foreheads as a minister speaks the words, “You are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). How do you observe Ash Wednesday in your parish today? If parishioners attend worship only once during Lent, it is usually on Ash Wednesday, and the Imposition of Ashes ceremony seems to have become much more entrenched in the observance of Ash Wednesday worship. Why?

From my perspective, it seems to be a ritual that really resonates with people because of the tangible nature of the ashes. (You can feel them on your forehead; you can see them when you look in the mirror.) The ashes mirror the reality of sin in our lives, for which we must sincerely confess. The actual words spoken aloud by the minster over each of us, “You are dust and to dust you shall return,” speak to us powerfully too, of the hard reality that we are finite, we are dust, as God first told Adam in the Garden of Eden.

There is an end to this life, to be sure. But because of Christ, the end of our life here on earth is not the end of our story. Because of him, our lives are “to be continued” on the other side of the dirt of this world. In that world to come, we will feel the risen Lord touch us with his nail-scarred hands, and he will speak over us, “You are mine and you shall live forever.”

On Ash Wednesday, as repentant and forgiven sinners we get but a glimpse of that glorious day. Join me in this blog as we go forth together in anticipation of our new life in Christ.

Here are links to the Creative Communications, Living Faith and Hope-Full Living websites, which are the websites of the company where I work:

http://www.creativecommunications.com/

https://sfsdata.com/LivingFaith/Subscribe.aspx

http://www.hopefulldevotions.com/

 

 

5 replies on “Ashes to Ashes”

  1. Debbie Davis says:

    Well done! Look forward to future posts.

  2. Faye says:

    Thanks, Mark. Hope to follow.

  3. Nancy Knost says:

    Thanks Mark! Great post. Looking forward to reading more of them!

  4. Ruth Geisler says:

    Good job, Mark. This is a great idea. Another thing I like about the imposition of ashes is that it is a great witnessing tool. Even going to the grocery store after church, people can tell I’m a Christian. I’ve found that children love the ritual. It connects them to Jesus in a very real way.

  5. Sally Beck says:

    Good thoughts, Mark.

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