Wednesday, February 18, 2015

black ashes and white snow

Ash Wednesday is what it is called.  I am convinced that growing up in a denomination that did not participate in Ash Wednesday and Lent left  holes in my spiritual life, a time included in the Easter season of which I now look forward to as a highlight on the church calendar, adding great depth to my celebration of Easter.

Lent was traditionally associated with a time of repentance, fasting, prayer and the giving of alms. It was given popularity by the church sometime around the middle of the fourth century. I purposely set myself to study church history, the origins of the church councils, the leaders of the church, the effects of how history in general has been affected by the church, etc. This includes the good, noble, and worthy as well as the evil, crooked, and distorted of all concerned.

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy 
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Psalm 51:1-3

I do not attend a church that has an Ash Wednesday service. It does not matter. I have been preparing myself for the upcoming Lenten season and this morning I awakened and called out for His mercy, just as I do every day. I reflect on the beautiful terrible cross upon which Jesus died, and I rejoice in that atonement that purchased for me justification and eternal life.

Pleased I am that there is snow covering the ground this Ash Wednesday. When I go outside I secure a wool hat on my head to keep me warm. A simple hat knitted from the wool I spun from my own flock of Romney sheep many years ago.

"Though your sins are like scarlet
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool."
Isaiah 1:18


The BUTT'RY and BOOK'RY said...

Lovely post!!
Cathy I was so happy to see you over at the "Butt'ry"
I have spent some time catching up here scrolling along all the way to where I left Aug!! (I looked for new posts often, but missed when you came back)

Everything is just lovely!!!
A wedding!!!
I also must say that all of your imagery and thoughts present a peaceful and calming effect upon the heart!
Many many Blessings and warmth,

PS your hair is beautiful!!

melissa said...

We used to attend a reformed Presbyterian church, where most of our children were baptized, and they didn't celebrate Ash Wednesday, or much of Lent. Mostly just Easter. Now we go to an Anglican church (my husband is a die-hard Presbyterian, so has a tough time adjusting to the bells and whistles), and I adore all the festive days. Ash Wednesday being one of them. I think it's a shame the modern-day Protestants have whittled down the services so much, and made things so simple.

I feel I was made to be Anglican. It really is amazing. I understand where you're coming from as well.

Karen said...

We grew up in a small church that didn't participate, either. Beautifully written.

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