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Day 1 - Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2023

"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure." -1 John 3:2-3

You and I, we will stand in the line together waiting to get marked with ashes, waiting to be told that to the dust we will return. We stand together as pharisees, stained by the sin of the day, for as we wait for those ashes, a full day has just happened. We have gone through a day of ugly thoughts, we have been self-righteous and hypocritical, we have left things undone or unsaid, it has been a day of judgement and of patience lost, and maybe a day veiled by painful secrets. We have all this in common, our shared brother and sisterhood of pharisaic attributes and the stain of sin.

Yet, we will stand in that line - you and me. We also have that in common.

We stand in that line because we believe we will see as Christ sees one day. Some days our actions don’t line up very well with our beliefs … but we still go on believing. We hold onto hope. That hope: the hope found in him. A hope in the one who washes us clean. Being marked by the Lord’s love removes the marks of a stain filled day. Our guilt may not be gone, nor our regret, but regardless we are forgiven, we are made new.

There is this purity that we share as we wait in that line together to be marked by those ashes. This purity that believes there is something more powerful than all the pride, greed, resentment, judgement, jealousy, sorrow, hatred, and insecurities of the day. There is this! This truth that we come from the dust and shall return there to that dust, yet our finite lives are held in the hands of a loving Creator who is also a Redeemer. We hold onto that hope, for at the end of our day and at the end of days, it is what really matters!

So come wait in line with me. And know that not just on Ash Wednesday, but on every day, you are marked by love, for we are the children of God, the ones who wait in hope. Amen.

-Leigh Sackett


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