It all started when...
ash wednesday • february 10, 2016
The State of the Heart
Gather around a table or living room . . . plan to take about 15 minutes together.
Take a stone (any size will do) and put it on the table in front of you.
Go around the table and describe the stone. Now consider what it might mean if someone said of you, “You have a stone heart.” Go around the table again, and have your family/friends share what comes to mind about a person with a stone heart.
Now read the following description of what God wanted to pass on to those who were known as “his children” when Ezekiel was a prophet.
God asked Ezekiel to share with the nation of Israel what God was wanting to do.
“For here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God!"
- Ezekiel 32:24-28
What might be some of the differences that come to mind when contrasting a God-willed heart and one that is self-willed? Is it always easy to know the difference?
This is the kind of either/or that does actually work. Now, we don’t always fit in one or the other—we all—likely have this kind of stoney-fleshy-soft-squishy-hard-in-places kind of heart. And knowing “where” we are—well, it is not always apparent.
Lent is a season that helps make those differences more clear.
In the coming weeks—the next 40 days, we’ll consider what it means to live with a fleshy-soft-heart and not a stone-heart. Today is what some know as Ash Wednesday. This is the beginning of the season of Lent. It is a time of 40 days before Easter—the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.
Think about a time where you have looked forward to something for 40 days or more? What was it that you had to wait for? How did you feel about waiting? Was there anything you did to help pass the time—or mark the time?
This is kind of what Lent is for the Church. We, together, think about each day a little differently—in order to prepare ourselves for living and celebrating LIFE. Even the season changes to Spring during this time.
Name some way that you are reminded of LIFE in the Springtime?
Ash Wednesday gets it’s name from the reminder that is found in the Scriptures,
“from dust you came
and to dust you will return.”
It can be sad. It can be scary. But it can also be just simply a reminder. The kind of reminder that says—every single day is important. Every single breath is a gift. And our life matters to God—it needs to matter to us.
Preparing For More * theworkofthepeople.com
The Forty as Fullness
It may just change your thinking about the season of Lent. It is a good reminder that what can be found within Lent is actually making room for the fullness of LIFE that is pictured in the Springtime.