We did the ashes on the forehead thing at chapel this morning and it was very special for me. There is something very definite and certain about drawing a line in the sand and saying, today is the last day for this … and with God’s help I am going to move into a time of repentance and reflection and wholeness. I have some extra baggage to lose, as always, and after having my forehead marked with ash, I knelt at the rail confident that I was in the right place, kneeling before my powerful God, ready to embark on a new adventure for this year and able to release those things I was willing to release. Let’s face it, there is something new to discover, relinquish or release at any and every season of life … and I love that each year we can symbolically and manifestly mark this cycle, acknowledging that we don’t have all the answers, but that we are willing to be led and guided…
Which brings me to today’s reflection from Richard which I found not only interesting, but also incredibly liberating … love Fr Richard!
Happy Ash Wednesday friend’s xxx
The sacred texts of the Bible are filled with absolute breakthroughs, epiphanies, and manifestations of the highest level of encounter, conversion, transformation, and Spirit. The Bible also contains texts which are punitive, petty, tribal, and idiotic. A person can prove anything he or she wants from a single line of the Bible. To tell you the truth, the Bible says just about everything you might want to hear—somewhere! Maybe this sad and humiliating recognition can be your ashes today. Like a phoenix you can rise and rebuild your knowledge of Scripture in a prayerful, calm, skillful, and mature way. Then you can read with head and heart and Spirit working as one, and not just a search for quick answers.
Maybe one of the biggest mistakes in the history of Christianity is that we have separated spirituality from theology and scripture study. In other words, we put the Scriptures in the hands of very immature and unconverted people, even clergy. We put the Scriptures in the hands of people at entirely egocentric levels, who still think “It’s all about me,” and who use the Bible in a very willful way. It is all dualistic win or lose. The egocentric will still dominates: the need to be right, the need to be first, the need to think I am saved and other people are not. This is the lowest level of human consciousness, and God cannot be heard from that heady place. Perhaps it is not accidental that we place the ashes of Ash Wednesday precisely on the forehead.