Lenten Meditation 1, March 1

Wednesday, March 1

Ash Wednesday

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Psalm 51:1-17
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

by Mary McPherson

The readings for today are apropos for the first day of Lent and speak of the opportunity for us to use this Lenten season to reconnect with God in a meaningful way. Starting every morning with a meditation and scripture reading is a wonderful practice to adopt for Lent. We may take more on as the spirit leads us.

Ashes are a sign of mortality (we return to ashes or dust when we die) and repentance. Long ago when people felt remorse for something they would put ashes on their head, and tear their clothes. Joel tells us, “Rend your heart and not your garments.”

Psalm 51 is credited to David after Jonathan confronted him face to face with the adultery he committed with Bathsheba – what an example of heartfelt repentance. He says comforting words to us at the end, that in spite of what he’s done, “A broken and contrite heart, God, you will not despise.”

The theme of Second Corinthians is “be reconciled to God”. Matthew speaks of making sure we reconcile for the right reasons – not for our glory but for his. One of my favorite scripture passages of all time is in verses 19-21. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Today, I need to ask God to make clear to me during this Lenten season what it is that I need to repent of. I am out of touch with my sin. In other words, I’m asking the Lord to make plain to me where sin lurks in my life. It is easy to lull myself into the false belief that I’m a good person, not a sinful one. When am I being selfish, critical or judgmental? Do I see so clearly the speck in my neighbor’s eye all the while overlooking the board in my own? I have mustered the courage to pray this prayer in the past and been awakened to striking and uncomfortable realizations. The result has been a much deeper and profound appreciation of the forgiveness he so freely offers me.