Ashes to Ashes, Death to Life
Our Lenten journey officially begins next week with the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday. I hope you will consider joining us for a brief, but meaningful service at
7 p.m. that evening.
This storied tradition of Ash Wednesday dates back centuries and reminds us that our life in this world will one day pass away, but our life in God’s Heavenly Kingdom will last forever.
This message is often hard to grasp, even for believers, but through Ash Wednesday we begin to realize that in order to have abundant life in the spirit, there must first be death to our sinful nature in the flesh. Jesus came into this world to conquer sin and death, but in order to do that, he first had to die on the cross so that he could be raised up in the spirit.
According to I Corinthians 15, if there is no death, then there is no resurrection, and if there is no resurrection, then our faith is futile because we have not been rescued from our sins and redeemed by his blood. But the good news comes to us beginning in Verse 20 of that chapter, which states, “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam, all die, so
in Christ all will be made alive.”
“Then,” the passage continues, “the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” From that perspective, we might say that Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the end for the Grim Reaper and the beginning of abundant life for us.
In 1973, The Fifth Dimension released a song, titled, “Ashes to Ashes.” It was on the “B” side of one of their hits (I forget which one), but it was a catchy tune with some meaningful lyrics that relate to this discussion: “Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust, it will never be the same, but we’re all forgiven, we’re only living to leave the way we came.”
There is considerable truth to that riff from the standpoint that our mortal bodies will pass away and that we will never be the same, but the good news is that we’re all forgiven and basically living to leave the way we came — in other words, in the spirit.
So let us spend a few moments together on Ash Wednesday as we take stock of who we are now and how we will be transformed through the spirit so that we can all be reunited together as one and rejoice in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John