Amos 5:6-15; Hebrews 12:1-14; Luke 18:9-14
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this bittersweet season. More than any other season of the liturgical year, Lent draws us into a landscape that calls our attention to how brokenness and beauty, horror and hope dwell closely together. Ashes are the first sign and symbol of Lent, but they are not the final word.
This reminds me of fires on Table Mountain—in Cape Town—my hometown. Every so many years a fire breaks out and blackens the mountain destroying the natural “fynbos” plant life. But that is not the end. As the fire rages, the heat cracks open the seeds of the “fynbos” and when the dew and rain comes germination takes place and hope of a beautiful mountain returns.
On Ash Wednesday, we will bear this mark of what has been left behind from the burning, reminding us of the dust and earth from which we rise and to which we will return. Even within this ash lies the memory of life. As the “fynbos” starts to grow, so we rise with Christ out of the ashes to the promise that is yet to come. Lent provides a time to reflect and repentance for us, with the hope of Christ new life.
Prayer: Thank you Lord that you assist us to rise out of the ashes of despair into the hope of everlasting life.
Today’s devotion was written by Dieter Punt,
Pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Troutman, NC.