Good morning everyone! I hope you had a lovely Ash Wednesday.
Today’s scripture:Psalm 25:1-5 (NRSV)
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
3 Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.
Last night we had an Ash Wednesday service. We used the Holden Evening Prayer service to guide us through. This setting of worship is one of my favorites. It is lovely. In some of the singing moments, I can actually feel myself just hand parts of myself to God. I don’t do that very often. I want more control than that. I like to give God things to work on and let God work on it for me but to actually hand over parts of myself are really hard.
But a few things happened yesterday that reminded me yet again that during this season it is ok to not hold all of that. I am mortal and you are mortal. We really can’t carry it all ourselves. Let me share a few moments from yesterday:
I went to see my Uncle in the hospital yesterday. We spent a few hours together and I got to thinking that I don’t know that we have ever actually done that. I remember going to visit my aunt and uncle and while the boys when with Bob, I always stayed with my Aunt Martha. My Aunt Martha is pretty special to me. I would always choose time with my aunt. I feel a kinship with her that I don’t feel with many people. So Bob and I caught up for a few hours and it was sweet. He has just had major heart surgery. He went in thinking that they would check his heart and maybe schedule something but then he stayed at the hospital and before the family knew it, major heart surgery was scheduled for two days ago. When I talked to my aunt after the visit, she said, “one day at a time now, that is all I will schedule. Major things happen.” While I can’t do anything about this situation, I can let God hold it.
Then I went back to church where my everyday congregation reside. Remember me talking about that crew? They are a funny crew. Yes, there are still residents on property but we are working pretty closely with the city to come up with better solutions. Last I talked with you, there was a prayer vigil to ground us in prayer in the midst of some conflict. It worked! The conversations have been good and the community has really become involved. Still quite the process but a good one. When I got to church, two of our residents ran to find me…one has a spot in shelter as of today and she elated, the other one has a job today. This is a good day. I can let God lift people up. I can’t control the outcome.
We set up for Ash Wednesday. We got ready to ash foreheads. I made the invitation. The very first person to march up the aisle was the youngest in the crowd. The six year old was eager to get his dust. He beamed at me as he bee lined to my space. I held the ash in my hand and thought, “to ash this eager little one and remind him that he is dust is powerful.” Only God can hold that. I can’t control it. Even this little one knows that he is dust and not because of anything that he has done but because he is human and ready for this journey. Others hesitated to begin the Lenten journey but not this one. He made to the front first. God can hold that.
So as we begin this piece together, what will you let God take? The Psalmist proclaims trust in God. The Psalmist pleas for God to teach God’s paths. The only way God can do that is if we let God take control a little bit. Hard to do. Trust is hard. Learning what we don’t know is hard. For all of that, we wait.
For those who are interested, here is link to Holden Evening prayer so that you might experience just a bit too…