Hello! You are receiving this email because you are part of a daily devotional list for Lent 2016. If you would like to not be, feel free to unsubscribe. If you think I have missed someone, send them this email and they can subscribe. Thank you for being part of my Lenten journey. Each day I will put a scripture before us and then share a short devotional. I LOVE getting emails back (don’t think that I am too busy to read and respond :)). If you are called to write a devotional, I also LOVE highlighting guests on my day to day reflections. I will be writing each day (hopefully in the morning) until Easter. I am honored to journey with you!
Today’s scripture: Matthew 6:16-21 (NRSV)
16 “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.[a]
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[b]consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust[c] consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also
I have a confession to make…I love Ash Wednesday and I absolutely hate having ash on my head. I know it is all part of the gig but when it is my turn to have the ash and oil smeared on my head, it takes everything in me not to cringe. I also must admit that when I get home, it is the first thing to be wiped off. I love the symbolism of walking around during the day and seeing smudges on foreheads and being a smudge. I love recognizing that I am mortal and seeing it in the world and yet, it doesn’t feel good. It feels…well…smudgy. The oil feels so present which is also part of the deal.
One year I even tried to just get my hand smudged with ash. I figured it would be the same, right? It wasn’t…it felt out of place.
The thing is…it is good for me to be uncomfortable during Ash Wednesday. It is good for me to feel something on my forehead. I don’t do it for the show, I do it because it is real and now. I do it because it connects me to the earth and to another human being. I do it because we will die and there is death and it matters moment to moment. I do it to clear away the other stuff to get closer to God.
I endure the ash because it begins a season of pruning, of clearing away, of finding me again. I do it to begin Lent. So today I will mark others with ash and I will be marked with ash yet again.