Ashes, Ashes, we all fall down.
Die to yourself and in righteousness arise.
Rejoice in the resurrected Christ.
Reflect on the rebellion that led us astray
and his cross which reconciled us again, to God.
that which you’ve offended or taken offense to,
all the ways in which pride still strains devotion
and selfishness divides.
Join hands in unity, a holy communion,
laying down ourselves and taking up the cause of other.
Let us see the Holy Spirit ablaze in each other,
knowing that the only way to fare through earthly life
is bound together as neighbor and in worship of Christ divine.
“Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of one who has no sense.”- Prov. 10:13
I read this verse last night, after provoking my mother to anger again. I antagonized, to be fair. I have jealousy. My mother’s character parallels my sister. They are close. We are not. My heart aches at the thought, the aim of futile approval addiction and my life spent in such pursuit.
My bruised ego assaults the Spirit that calls me to extreme forgiveness. Radical love is one that turns the other cheek, is willing to forgive when everything in us wants to rage, to spread our wrath. Pacifism in all our relationships, not just the battlefields, goals so contrary to American idealism. We are even to be gentle in our speech towards others.
When we let our tongues loose, we will be beaten down. We need to be discerning in what we say and how we say it. Words are important, they are the language to communities, the language of the heart. Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. May we be discerning in what we say and how we say it. We must have words aptly spoken, not in defense of our selfish nature or simply a resounding gong. We must realize that Christ truly intercedes on our behalf. He defends the weak, the mocked, and most of all, our broken hearts.
I pray this Lenten season I will be still and know that Christ is God. I want to take time to reflect, to be transformed. I often find myself questioning how different I really am from my secular counterparts. Too often I grumble. I complain, I get angry (and not righteously because it isn’t in defense of the gospel, but when I feel an affront), I gossip, I, more often than not, only trust God when things are going well. I want to praise him in the storms and deserts, not just when I uncover affluent blessings. I don’t want a prosperity or social justice gospel. I want Christ and Christ alone! I don’t want to care what the world thinks. I want to share this radical love and I can’t share it if I don’t live it.
I want to live the Beatitudes and be guided by the fruits of the Spirit. Oh God, sow seeds worthy of eternal blessing in me that I might be a laborer that sacrifices the bountiful harvest for you. Grant me wisdom to speak the gospel boldly, without shame. In that, may you say, “Good job my faithful servant.” Who am I living for? Man or God? May I not be a resounding gong, except for praise to you, the Holy One, the one true God now and forever. Help me to love others as you have loved me.
I realize already that my words have been too many. Let my words be few, rendered only in holy praise to you. I don’t need to fight my extrovert nature, you gave it to me for a purpose. However, harness it so that your Holy Spirit is ablaze and fruits are seen, harvested such that only the resurrected Christ is preached.
Help me God to Love my neighbor as myself and the Lord, my God, above all else for this sums up the Law and the Prophets, the true goal of any life well lived. Let me die to myself as I live for you, a bond servant to Christ and assisting all communities I find myself in this side of heaven.
Create beauty from these ashes.
I want a life rendered only for your purposes oh God. That, dear God, is my song and my dance, twirling in the circle of this life. Help me to blossom into the woman you made me to be, reaping the rewards I can only receive in Heaven and being fully satisfied in you alone.
I’ve prattled long enough, not making much sense. Grant me discernment and wisdom above all else that I might truly die to this flesh nature.
May I arise from earthly ashes to I stand in silent awe of the Christ who resurrected from the tomb. May I live every day proclaiming this good news, the only news that can ignite strewn ashes and faint/crushed spirits.
Be still already and know he is God!