Posted by: alliehope | February 26, 2009

Ash Wednesday 2009: The Gift

The alarm in my iPod rang at 5:30, bringing me out of a troubled sleep. For just a moment, I could not remember why I was being woken up at that hour, but then I remembered: I had made a decision (that I tried to back out on yesterday) to go downtown for at least part of the morning to pray, to meditate, to seek God’s direction for the next 40 days, the time known to a lot of Christ-followers as Lent.

So I left my warm bed and journeyed down to the Chicago Temple, one of the most beautiful churches in the city (and also one of the quietest places in the city!), arriving at about 7:45. I prayed Psalm 51,(verses 1-17, at least) and then had ashes imposed on my forehead as a mark of repentance and remembering the fact that I will someday die.

I then received Holy Communion, something I had not done for a while, and in that moment of remembering His sacrifice, my soul was strengthened for the morning’s work, and the four gifts that would emerge from that day’s Lectionary passages:
repentance, given from Joel 2:13,
righteousness, given from 2 Corinthians 5:21,
remembering God’s character, given from Psalm 103:13-14and in re-adjusted priorites, given from Matthew 6:12.

Blogger’s note: before I go any further, I have some ‘splainin to do: the Lectionary is a cycle of readings from the Scripture, intended to take the reader through the Bible in a year. It’s most often used in more traditionally-oriented churches. And, just so the reader knows: I’m not trying to be funny in having all the words for the gifts I received in the passages start with the letter “r”. This blog post is NOT brought to you by the letter R or the mumber 7. This ain’t Sesame Street, people.

Having said that, I know know that God allowed me to see those things to remind me that despite how I often feel, He has never left me or forsaken me. He is still working in my life, no matter if I can’t see the results of the work He’s doing. His call to me is to simply walk in trusting communion with Him, letting go of the results.

In hindsight, it was almost a set-up. I got of the train at the Washington stop, and as I walked toward the exit in the crowd of early commuters, I saw a sign: “Complete control matters”. And in a moment, I said out loud, “No. Complete surrender matters!” The sign, and my reaction to it, I think, were a hint of what was to come, and God’s gentle call to deeply enter into this sacred season, and into a deeper level of surrender.

Blogger’s second note: take a minute to read the comments section after the entry. You might find some interesting things to look into if you want to have this season be a little more meaningful, but are scratch for ideas! Here’s praying for a blessed Lenten season for all of you!

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