A Matter of Life and Death

http://divinity.library.vanderbilt.edu/lectionary/CLent/cAshWednesday.htm

Ash Wednesday is typically an interesting day for me.  I go about my daily life, rushing from one place to another, trying desperately to get to church on time for the service.  And, it is in that place, that I run face first into the fact that my life will one day end.  It’s sudden and abrupt.  Even though I know what to expect at an Ash Wednesday service, nothing truly prepares me for the reality that death is very much a part of life.

We’re all going to die. 

Todd did a wonderful job Wednesday of helping us think about that fact.  He talked about the paradox of death bringing life – and that there are things in our lives that need to die in order for us to truly live. 

What needs to die so that you can live?

And, how do you need to die to yourself so that others can live?

It’s a pride issue.  It’s a heart issue.  And, quite honestly, I think most of us have a lot of dying to do.  Me included, without a doubt. 

I’m challenged to be more affirming of others, rather than sarcastic or critical.  I’m challenged to be more loving towards others, rather than judgemental.  I’m challenged to be more compassionate towards others, rather than indifferent to them. 

How do I need to die so that others can live more fully?

I wonder, is my “opinion” about things really all that important.  I mean, I’m going to die one of these days, and with that, so will my thoughts and opinions.  So, really, are they all that important to begin with?  Are my biases, prejudices, opinions really worth even having? 

Okay, so I’m married to the worship pastor at our church – and, by golly, people LOVE to share their opinions about music.  Or preaching.  Or teaching styles.  For some reason, some people think it’s actually helpful when they say critical or harsh things.  As if we have all become a congregation of Simon Cowells.  Please don’t misunderstand me – I believe that constructive criticism has it’s place – but there are those who can be downright ugly towards those in leadership.  And I wonder, is it even necessary? 

And I wonder, what would happen if we would all support each other, love each other, affirm each other?  What would happen if we encouraged people to do those things they are good at – or love to do?  What would happen in our church if we got to know the heart of people before we decided to share our opinions about them.

Psalm 51:16-17 is about what is pleasing to God.  It isn’t the actions we take – the things we do – the outword appearances of our “Christianity”.  Rather, God is pleased when we are humble and desires a broken spirit.  When we come to the very end of ourselves and realize that we are but dirt.  When our hearts are at a place of surrender and we are willing to give up our opinions, our pride, our need for getting OUR way. 

Have you been broken? 

Are you willing to be broken?

And how do you think that would affect the other people in your life?

Just wondering.

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