Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday February 25, 2009 - Ash Wednesday - Genesis 28:10-17

Lent is a time of suffering. Consider Jacob. He had stolen his father’s blessing from his brother Esau. When their mother heard of Esau’s plan to kill Jacob as soon as Isaac dies, she advised Jacob to flee to her brother, Laban. Jacob flees and on his way to Laban, when night comes he lies down to sleep, using a stone as a pillow. He experiences forsakenness – alone, estranged from his family, in a strange land, his future uncertain. In this extremity, God comes and promises to protect and prosper him. Jacob awakens with amazement that God is with and for him.

Jacob used a stone for a pillow, and still he slept! But it was not a sound sleep, for he had dreams that night he ran away from home. He made his bed by cheating his brother of his birthright and his father’s blessing, and now he must lie in it: the hard, cold ground with a stone for a pillow! It was a stone of loneliness, rejection, and hostility. Even here in this condition God came to him with words of comfort and assurance. In the depth of our existence God comes to us.

Today we begin the journey of Lent for this is Ash Wednesday. We consider our sin with the ashes of repentance. No matter how lonely your plight, be assured that the Savior has come to bear your sin and carry your load.

Almighty and everlasting God, You despise nothing You have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and contrite hearts that lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness we may receive from You full pardon and forgiveness.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

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