Ash Wednesday: For Our Transgressions

He was wounded for our transgressions,
He bore our sins in His body on the tree;
For our guilt He gave us peace,
From our bondage gave release…
Thomas Chisholm (1866-1960)

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Forty Day (roughly) journey to the Cross and the Resurrection. A time when, around the world, Followers of Jesus Christ reflect on Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.

Certainly, that should be an every day thing, but Lent gives the opportunity stop, and hopefully be a little bit quiet.

For many it’s also a time of giving up. Giving up sugar. Giving up alcohol. Giving up social media.

I suppose that helps, but the times when I’ve done that, I’ve never felt particularly spiritual or religious.

One of the most significant Lenten experiences in my life was nearly thirty years ago when I was undergoing cancer treatments. I was quite fortunate that the treatments lasted roughly as long as the Season of Lent. Don’t get me wrong, the side effects lasted far longer, but that’s not the point.

Perhaps it was the significance of facing my own mortality. Some thirty years later I’m probably thinking about that again. I mean, I’m sure I only have another 60 or so years.

I at least have to be here for First Contact in 2063.

And who amongst us saw me going off on that tangent?

The bride and I plan on attending an Ash Wednesday service this evening. Something that we have not done in a long time, perhaps not since we’ve been in Richmond. The thing is we are transitioning to a new church home. We’re not quite sure that we’ve found the exact place for us. But, we’re looking for a little more tradition, a little more liturgy.

I won’t dwell on the change, or the reason behind it. For two reasons, I do not wish to critical of our former church home. It’s just that we don’t seem to fit in there anymore. Second, I’m not sure that the transition is complete.

I just wrote and erased a paragraph that I’m not ready to publish…yet. There will come a time. It is not this day.

Let me just say that if our faith is based on the trappings of a particular church, or if our faith is based in a political system, then perhaps we’re missing the point.

This post is not intended to be a sermon, and there’s no link to an altar call at the bottom.

It’s just me saying that maybe, just maybe, in this season of Lent we can all do with a little more reflection.

We had wandered, we all had wandered
Far from the fold of “the Shepherd of the sheep”;
But He sought us where we were,
On the mountains bleak and bare,
And bro’t us home, and bro’t us home,
And bro’t us safely home to God.


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