Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday

Christ the Life of All the Living Lutheran Service Book #420
Matthew27:33-46; 1 Corinthians 15:57; Isaiah 55:5; 1 Peter 2:24

Christ the life of all the living,
Christ the death of death, our foe,
Who Thyself for me once giving
To the darkest depths of woe;
Through Thy suff’rings, Death, and merit
I eternal life inherit.
Thou-sand, thou-sand thanks shall be,
Dearest Jesus unto Thee.

Today, more than on any other day of the year we remember our mortality. Adam, created by the hand of God, in His own image, from the dust of the ground is cursed to return to the soil from which he came. The earth is now cursed because of Adams’ fall. Thus, we face up to the cold, hard reality that we are nothing by dust and ash. “For dust thou art. And unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:19

Yet out of the dust comes hope. Christ, the life of all the living dies the death we deserve.  From the ashes, with repentance and faith we, like Adam, rise to live a new life.  God has put enmity between the seed of the woman and the serpent. He will crush his head. The serpent can only strike at His heel. The first Adam brought death and destruction to this earth. The Second Adam; Christ our Savior, has triumphed and brought restoration to this broken world. A new heaven and a new earth will come, according to His design.

Lent begins today with Ash Wednesday. With ashes of repentance. And with the hope of life out of the ashes. Lent continues as we see the Lord Jesus in His suffering, humiliation, agony, and bloody sweat and at the cross where He took our sins unto Himself. That great exchange – God’s mercy and forgiveness purchased at the cross of His own Son! Through the suffering and death of Jesus, we merit forgiveness and inherit life eternal. Thanks be to God for this great exchange.

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; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.[1]

[1] Lutheran Service Book, Collect for Ash Wednesday; © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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