(This is a repost from a Facebook note I wrote on Ash Wednesday 2009)
Messages in Ash
The pastor’s thumb makes contact with my forehead
Black ash falls from his hand down my face
A reminder of the sin in which I drown
The shape like a “t”
Though pain for him; joy and peace for me.
I go through the day
Constantly being reminded
Yet another message floods my heart and soul
I glance around to my fellow “cross-wearing” sinners
Black ash marked on them as well
And soon am reminded
I’m loved… I’m redeemed…
So are they.
My friends… loved, forgiven, redeemed.
This girl next to me in class… loved, forgiven, redeemed.
That guy at the computer across the lab… loved, forgiven, redeemed.
My enemies… loved, forgiven and redeemed.
The jerk, the slut, the needy… ALL loved, forgiven, redeemed.
The person I just can’t stand to be around, the innocent, the hurting… loved, forgiven, redeemed.
It’s so easy to forget.
Christ’s death on a cross
2000 years ago
The crosses on them reminds…
Love takes sacrifice
For Christ… a sacrifice of life.
For me… a sacrifice of pride.
A sacrifice in order to look each day
At all those around
To see their sin, hurt, and pain
To see them as one redeemed by the Savior.
A sacrifice of pride.
A humble attempt to get beyond my prejudices.
The chance, in Christ, to love them
No matter what.
To see them through His eyes.
This visual reminder only remains for one day
My prayer stands…
That each day
I may see the marks of Christ…
On each I meet…
On all I pass
I pray that you as well can look around each day, whether there is a visual reminder or not, that each person we pass every day is one of God’s children… loved, forgiven, and redeemed. It’s so easy for us to fall into pride or even just complacency. May we let Christ lift us above that pride to a new level of love… love that looks past the sin… looks beyond the hurt to see the child of God for whom Christ died… and to be able to reflect Christ’s love back to that hurting child.