“For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return” – Gen 3:19
Today, Ash Wednesday, is a Christian holiday (literally holy day) that believers have been celebrating for over a thousand years. It’s a day were we admit that we are frail, we are failing, and we will return to the dust we came from. But that not is the final word for us. It is a day that, yes, reminds us that we are full of imperfections, but even more, reminds us of our need for the perfect One; Jesus Christ.
It’s a day where we mourn like Job over sin, mortality, and death in “dust and ashes” (Job 42:6). But we are also able to rejoice as we echo the Apostle Paul’s words, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:55-56). This is the beautiful news that destroys the horrific news of sin, guilt, and death, because Christ was destroyed for us.
Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent is all about preparation and repentance. Lent is the forty-days (not counting Sundays) stretching from Ash Wednesday to Easter. Historically, Christians have set aside this time to prepare their hearts to remember Jesus’ death and celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Easter is not only the day in human history where death lost its sting, it’s the defining reality of the Christian life. This devotional is a guide for preparing our hearts for Easter. It’s a journey that finds us walking in newness of life, because death was swallowed up in victory when Jesus walked out of the tomb Easter morning.
My prayer for the Lenten season and this devotional guide is that Christ, who speaks the final word over death, will remind you how much you need him, how much those around the world need him, and how much he calls you to participate in his global mission. “Therefore, each Friday during Lent we are calling the church to not only pray, but also fast. The risen Savior of the world is in sight, let’s prepare ourselves for him” (Garth & Brad B., 2015 Lenten Devotional)
I want to thank Sojourn Community Church for preparing this devotional and allowing Renaissance Church to use it during the Lenten Season. You can download and view it, here: 40 Day Lenten Devotional and also pick up a copy this Sunday at our gathered service.