Pastor Craig
February 2018


"Hearts and Ashes"


To say this has been a strange calendar year is an understatement. It started for me when we had an "extra" Thursday in November after Thanksgiving. Then we celebrated both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve on Sunday and we are not done yet. This year the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday is Valentine's Day and Easter Sunday is April Fool's Day. Think of the preaching possibilities.


Having Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day in the same sentence is complicated. It causes one to think and reflect on what it means to actually love someone and what does that involve. Love is a complicated word. Right off the bat is it an action or is it a feeling or is it both. Think of the many different Country Western songs that speak of love found, love lost, or somewhere in between. Has Hallmark between its romantic cards and movies cornered the market on what our idea of love is? Can one sing the words to "Jesus Loves Me" and feel the same emotion as a tear-jerker ending of a love story?


The Season of Lent is that ultimate love story. It is a story between God and us. As with any good love story there are things that get in the way. In this case, we have the people who question is this the Son of God or is he the Son of the Devil. There were those, like the Jewish leaders, who thought that the true relationship between God and the church/people was just fine it was that "true" love found in the traditions and laws. Even people not "part of the family" got involved in the story like Pontius Pilate or the Roman soldiers. We even ended with the Romeo/Juliet moment of the ending of a life for love's sake. True to form, the death cannot be the end. There has to be that moment when Love triumphs over all obstacles. Simplistic, I know but isn't that what the love of God is all about?


It is actually more than that. We can speak of a love that is temporary or short lived. The first crush on a school classmate or that first date, or the one that Garth Brooks sings about in his song "Thank God for Unanswered Prayer". God's love or true love is one that endures all things. . You see God's love is the standard by which all other loves are compared to and pale in the light of. We can see however what it means to be love and not in love.


Ash Wednesday is that day when we look for that rebirth and newness in our own lives. We acknowledge our sinful self and bow down and acknowledge our imperfections. We use the ashes placed on our foreheads as a sign and an enduring symbol of the lengths in which our God is willing to go to show and demonstrate his love for us.


This year as we celebrate Valentine's Day by giving out cards, flowers, candy and other things to the ones we love may you always know that the greatest gift that you can give the one you love is you. That's what God did, he gave himself for us.


In Christian Love

Pr Craig

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