Skip to comments.Seek the Lord and Live, an Ash Wednesday Meditation
Posted on 03/01/2006 5:15:06 PM PST by sionnsar
This meditation for Ash Wednesday is the second entry in the Anglican Bloggers Lenten Collaboration series of daily devotionals that will be posted on Lent & Beyond throughout Lent. Most entries will be by guest bloggers, but todays entry is by Lent & Beyond coordinator Karen B.
Ash Wednesday Daily Office Readings:
Psalm 32, Psalm 143
Amos 5:6-15, Heb 12:1-14 , Luke 18:9-14
Seek the LORD and live
Those are the opening words of the OT daily office reading from Amos for today, Ash Wednesday (ECUSA 1979 lectionary). I find it interesting that we have a call to choose life on a day when the liturgy during the imposition of ashes reminds us of our mortality:
Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth: Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence, that we may remember that it is only by your gracious gift that we are given everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
and: Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
The theme of finding life through submission and obedience to in the Lord continues in the NT lesson from Hebrews 12, in verse 9:
Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!
Do we truly believe that in Christ is life, and that to live we must submit to our heavenly Father?
I dont just mean this in terms of salvation and eternal life and the debates about apologetics, and the uniqueness of Christ in which we so often get caught up. I am asking myself this question today and challenging each of us to ask it of ourselves daily throughout Lent. Is Christ our life? Are we willing to submit our wills and desires to God? To choose to do what pleases Him? Do we believe that the joy, life and freedom He offers, that we find in yielding to and obeying Him is better, more satisfying that the empty pleasures of this world?
Are we willing to follow Moses example as set forth in Hebrews 11?
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaohs daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. (Heb 11:24-26, NIV)
Moses made an incredible choice. He gave up a lavish privileged life in the palaces of Egypt as the son of Pharaohs daughter in order that he might, as a Jew inherit all God had promised to His people. However, dont forget, the Jews were slaves in Egypt. Moses appeared to exchange riches and royalty for poverty and slavery. Yet by faith, he understood that he was making the better choice, that what Christ offered him was of greater value than all the astonishing wealth of Egypt at the height of the pharaonic period. Moses turned away from the pleasures of sin and chose the promises of God, he chose life.
Paul too chose life and could testify For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Many of you reading this know that I spend much of my time in Christian ministry overseas. I routinely find that it is a lot easier for me to live consistently as a Christian when Im in Africa because everything in my outward circumstances reminds me of the choice Ive made to follow Christ. Its why I left the US and have come to live in a foreign land. My whole life in Africa is centered upon that choice.
Its often a lot harder to be conscious of that choice weve made to follow Christ in our comfortable lives in N. America or the West. There are so many distractions that can deaden our souls, dull our hunger for the Lord. We can be tempted to chase after many pursuits that can provide temporary enjoyment but do nothing to enliven us spiritually and deepen our life in Christ. We can forget that Christ is our life.
Lent is a call to enter into life, to enter more deeply into Christ. We are exhorted today Seek the Lord and live ! Submit to the Father and live!
But such submission requires trust. We need to believe that the Lord is good, that He is loving in all He does. It is the knowledge of the Lords love for us that helps us persevere in our struggle against sin (Heb. 12:4-6). May we find grace to daily make the choice to submit to the Lord, even though it requires humility and confession, and means being corrected and disciplined. May the Lord help us to believe that the His discipline is a sign of love. May we trust the Lords goodness and believe that the training and refining He wants to work in our lives this Lent is for good, to bring about an abundant harvest of peace and righteousness in our lives.
O GOD, whose nature and property is ever to have mercy and to forgive; Receive our humble petitions; and though we be tied and bound with the chain of our sins, yet let the pitifulness of thy great mercy loose us; for the honour of Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Advocate. Amen. (from the 1928 Penitential Office for Ash Wed.)
The lessons used as the basis of this meditation are the same as for the Lutheran Daily lectionary as printed in For All the Saints by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau and as read in my parish today at Morning and Evening Prayer.
Thanks for the ping, Tony!
I am a bit late FReeping tonight, we went to the 7:00 service this evening ;-)
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