Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalms 51:10
He suggested that I pick the car up tonight when I went to the "Ash Wednesday" service to kick off Lent. I chuckled and told him, no, I wasn't planning on going, "I had errands to do." I suggested I pick up the car when I dropped off Lisa and the kids. Ever the optimist that I am learning him to be, Pastor asked "not even to come to hear my sermon?" No, I assured him, I had too much old baggage to take part in an Ash Wednesday service. . End discussion!
Of course, God being God ...... we were late and ended getting there just as the sermon was starting and I pretty much had to stay. Hmmm, the sermon title: "Faith comes by . . . Repenting". Sigh.
Here we go, God! About 3/4 of the way through, there was a distinct urging from within "let it go, Jo" and immediately my heart was softened. Boy He works fast sometimes! No disrespect to my Roman Catholic roots, but it was a distorted religious experience of hurt, sin, confusion and pain that ultimately led me away from Jesus.
Tonight, for the first time the 'ancient rite of ashes on the forehead in the shape of a cross" was explained in a way that made sense! Believe me, I sat through countless masses and RC services but the eyes of my heart were shut tight!!
Tonight something released and I was able to experience a deep healing connection to Christ! I felt so loved in His arms as I sat next to Lisa, and with smudgy foreheads we wept together.
She leaned close and whispered that her 8 year old son, Eli, says that on Ash Wednesday he loves to look at himself when he washes the ashes away, because he feels like it is Jesus washing away his sins."
Yes, it is.