Today, as I post this, is Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday happens to be just about my favorite day in the Christian year. I suspect my love of this day has something to do with its simple, honest grace.
During Lent, we are invited to turn our hearts to God. To do so, we turn our hearts away from everything that has been distracting us from God...
This can be tough, but it's so good--because we know that God's response is loving and gracious. We don't have to wonder, because we know God is loving and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (I didn't think that up. I just stole it from the Hebrew scriptures.)
So, today, we're invited to turn toward God, and ask for repentance.
The best part, though, are the words we say as we mark each other with ashes: "Remember that you a dust, and to dust you shall return."
Somehow, this is just the grace I need. Right now and every year. I am a connected part of God's good creation. I am dust, just as everyone and everything else is. The world is not on my shoulders. I can savor each day.
Usually, it makes me more able to savor the goodness of the natural world, too: after all, it's dust just like me.
But I digress:
This was supposed to be about this coming Sunday.
During Lent, we're going to think about what it means to "know by heart" and to be "known by heart." Our suspicion is that this "heart" stuff is critical: it helps us remember what it means to belong to God.
You may have heard that Rev. Earl Kernahan, who has been a part of our community for the past two years, died early this Monday morning. In his 93 years of life, and lifetime's worth of ministry, he has shown many of us--near and far--a beautiful witness of what it means to live your faith "by heart." Working for racial reconciliation, for social justice, for the strengthening of communities, against gambling, he lived his deep faith.
When I talked to him recently about the Bible, he had one clear favorite sentence memorized: "God is love."
So, this Sunday in our 9:30 worship, we get to think about how, this Lent, we might get better at living that love.
I also want you to know that you're very welcome to come share in celebration of Rev. Earl's life--we'll gather for a memory service at 12:30 on Sunday, in the Cove.