Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday

What does this day mean to me?

It isn't just a tradition, for I didn't start celebrating Ash Wednesday until I became an adult.

It isn't just a day of ashes for me, because it is a day of hope, a day when I look beyond this mortality to the eternity beyond it.

It is a day when I celebrate the goodness of God who loves each of us (even me) despite all of our sins (even mine).

Tonight, I'll be speaking at an Ash Wednesday service. My pastor is out of town and he asked a group of us to speak and to lead worship. I've done it before, but it is still an honor and a blessing to get asked. Three of us are speaking.

I get to speak about dependence. Here's my rough draft:

Do you remember your birth?
Your first step?
The first time you dumped your food on the floor?
Or, when you and your sister made a mess in the kitchen for the first time?
I don’t either.
But, my children, although they are now teenagers, reminded me.
I helped them take their first stumbling steps,
carried them when they were tired,
cleaned up the mess in the kitchen,
and I loved them and love them, now.

And, I’m not as good as God.
In the midst of the blessings, I had moments of frustration. I hid my daughters' favorite stained shirts from them and made them wear the clothes I thought were good enough for worship. I slowed them down in their enthusiastic race to the cross because running isn’t okay in church. I lost my temper with their stumbling. I sinned, and only God could help me up as a parent, and as His child. 

We are all God’s children. We are still learning to walk, still helpless, still covered in jam and mud and flour. We still need God’s embrace, his love, his guidance.

Young children depend on their parents. They need our help and they aren’t too shy or prideful to ask for it when they are tired and down. They want to be picked up, helped through tricky places, and sung to sleep at night. They admit they have needs and they can’t make everything happen themselves. 

And, when they want to wear their favorite mustard-stained shirt that they feel is their best and run to Jesus with open arms covered in mud, flour, and sticky jam, we might want to follow their lead.

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:15

We need to let go of our pride, our “do it ourselves” independence and depend wholly on Jesus.

If we can do that, we can enter his embrace.

“And he (Jesus) took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” – Mark 10:16


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That will be a wonderful message tonight, Tyrean. And I'm sure you'll deliver it with God's passion.

Crystal Collier said...

Beautiful. I'm still a firm believer in actively pursuing your course, but also relying on the Lord to buoy you up during times of discouragement.

Laurel Garver said...

I've been at a liturgical church for 9 years now, and have found Lenten practices to be some of the most profound for my growth. Today we do indeed get a potent reminder of our dependence on God for every good thing, not only cleansing and guidance, but life itself; without his inbreathing, we are merely dust. Wishing you a blessed Ash Wednesday!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

That is very lovely and heartwarming. I'm sure your words will touch people and lift them up.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks, Alex! I'm not sure I've got it all down, but I keep praying over it.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Oh yes, we need to seek Him, but He's the only one that can really save us.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks for these thoughts, Laurel! Yes, we need His life!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks, Susan! I appreciate your encouragement.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

That is simply beautiful. I think it's perfect.

quietspirit said...

This is a very good message. I know God is pleased with it. Blessings to you and yours.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks, Elizabeth! You are so sweet! :)

Tyrean Martinson said...


Liz Blocker said...

Beautiful, honest, and moving. A perfect message for today.

CWMartin said...

"And, when they want to wear their favorite mustard-stained shirt that they feel is their best and run to Jesus with open arms covered in mud, flour, and sticky jam, we might want to follow their lead." Perfect wrap up. Well done.

Dixie@dcrelief said...

I'm stopping by so late this evening. I know you did very well. I enjoyed reading what you planned to share! Pro. 3:5-6 is my daily prayer. (smile)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks, Liz!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thank you, CW!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks, Dixie! I'm glad you liked it! And "Trust in the Lord with all your heart . . ." is a great prayer!

Cathrina Constantine said...

Ash Wednesday for me is a time of change, conversion, renewal. I normally fall short of my expectations for lent, but I do trust in the Lord to pull me through...