Ash Wednesday, February 18—Pastor Karen
Readings: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17, Psalm 51:1-17, 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
On Ash Wednesday, we are reminded of our vulnerability, and our strength, both at the same time. The 5th Chapter of 2 Corinthians, teaches about the difficulties of a journey of faith, and the graces that help make a way.
The writer has experienced: afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, and hunger. And somehow, by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God, they have emerged with a deeper faith.
Ash Wednesday marks us with the ashes that will mark the time of our Lenten journey. 40 days, (plus Sundays) is a good period of time to reflect on the difficulties and graces listed in 2nd Corinthians, and how they are present in our Lenten theme of Emergence.
Emergence is the process of coming into view or becoming exposed after being concealed.
We are implementing an Easter butterfly project, so we can think of being concealed as if we are in a cocoon. What are the difficulties and graces that help us with the mysterious transformation that takes a caterpillar and changes it into a butterfly?
Its a process that takes time. And Emergence takes time — not a quality that we are good at cultivating in our fast paced DC.
The Sufi tell a story about what happens when we force things: Once upon a time, the story goes, a seeker found a cocoon resting quietly. Intent on seeing the butterfly within, the seeker held the cocoon in loving hands, breathed warm breath upon it and watched with excitement as the butterfly emerged. But hardly had the newly hatched beauty spread its wings than it dies. “Why did my butterfly die?” the seeker asked the Holy One. “To teach you a lesson,” the Holy One said. “Everything can be born in due time; nothing can be rushed.”
We pray: Holy God, we ask your presence as we begin our Lenten journey. Mark us with your love, a love that covers us and keeps us. Give us a sense of discipline to keep coming back to difficulties and graces that shape us into emerging more fully as your beloved children. In Jesus name, Amen.