"For our sake he made him to be sin who know no sin."
2 Corinthians 5:21
The Meaning of the Ashes - To describe our God as humble and "down to earth" should take our breath away. God is willing to become human and "pitch his tent among us" (the literal translation of John 1:14, "The Word was made flesh and dwells with us"). To reflect on the goodness of this God incites awe within us. Jesus is truly Divine and truly human. Our glorious God wraps himself in dust. The ashes we wear today signify our brokenness, our mortality, and our need to turn away from sin. From ancient times people have used ashes and dust for religious purposes. Our biblical ancestors put on ashes and sackcloth while praying for help or forgiveness, and to express mourning. The ashes on our heads witness to our identification with Jesus. SainT Paul used a shocking statement to describe how intimately Jesus identifies with the human race. When he says that god turned the sinless Jesus into sin, he means that Jesus too on the sinful human condition in order to raise up our fallen human nature. If Jesus has become sin for us, then especially during Lent we repudiate the sin that lead to Jesus' crucifixion and death. The ashes we wear do not say, "Hey, look at me!" They say, rather, "Hey, look at Christ!"
PRAY - Father, bless our Lenten resolutions with the strength and perseverance of Jesus Christ. Renew the commitment of those who believe in you. Light a fire in the hearts of those who have fallen away. Let those who do not know you be moved by our example and prayer. Amen.
ACT - Do a little dusting today. Before you go to bed tonight, remove the dust from your forehead, but also from a crucifix or religious picture in your house. Let it be a sign of your intention to be cleansed from sin.