The What and Who of Meandering About

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday - A Prayer Exercise

All around the world Christians from every walk of life went on a pilgrimage to their church or cathedral to walk down the aisle at the appointed time, wait in line near the front of the sanctuary and receive the imposition of ashes on their forehead in the shape of a cross.  What a wonderfully odd act of faith.  Perhaps you stood among those who made such a pilgrimage on Ash Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a time when we focus on our sinfulness.  It is a season when we are reminded of our brokenness and frailty.  It is an opportunity for us to remember that we are formed out of dust and it is to dust that we will one day return.
Now before you quickly close this depressing page, consider that it is only in light of God’s incredible faithfulness and grace that we consider our sin and brokenness as well as the fragility of life.  It is God’s ineffable love and unending mercy that provide us with the backdrop before which we can safely come to grips with our own tattered and scarred lives.
This Lenten Season, take some time to consider those things in your life that seem to pull you away from your core identity as a child of God. 
Think about doing this simple exercise.  On an index card or Post-it Note write down one or two of the things you struggle with the most in your life. Fold the paper several times.  Hold it between your clasped hands.  Pray over the things written on the paper.  Ask for God to give you the strength to let go of those things. Open your hands.  Slowly tear the paper into tiny pieces. Dispose of the remnants in your favorite way (HAVE FUN WITH THIS! Use them as confetti, scatter them in different trash cans around campus, dramatically throw them in a lit fireplace, or sprinkle them like pixie dust down the hall as you run to your next class).
This may seem like a ridiculous exercise.  However, it truly can be a tangible way to get a grip on your own sin and brokenness and dwell in the incredible blessing of God’s forgiveness and grace.
Psalm 103:8-14
“The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 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. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”
LET GO!
You are FORGIVEN!
Be at PEACE!

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