Ash Wednesday

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
    do not let me be put to shame;
    do not let my enemies exult over me.
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
    let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
    teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
    for you are the God of my salvation;
    for you I wait all day long.

Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
    for they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
    according to your steadfast love remember me,
    for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!

Good and upright is the Lord;
    therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
    and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
    for those who keep his covenant and his decrees. – Psalm 25:1-10

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the traditional Christian season of Lent. During Lent, we remember the temptations and sufferings of Christ and consider how we, as his followers today, might continue in his footsteps in our modern world. Lent specifically recalls Jesus’ time of fasting and temptation after Satan led him out into the desert. However, we cannot contemplate Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness without recognizing that we fall far short of the model of rejecting temptation that he provided. We, all too often, succumb to the temptation to selfishly seek to have our needs met apart from God.

In light of my own weakness and failings, I am particularly drawn to v.6-7 in our reading from Psalms today. The psalmist appeals to God’s eternal mercy and love when faced with the reality of personal transgressions against God’s holy standard. I think we can all relate to the plea that God not “remember the sins of [our] youth.” Our current struggles are surely a heavy enough burden without carrying around the guilt of the past. Thanks be to God that we serve a forgiving and merciful Lord who took all our sins upon himself! As you personally prepare your heart during this season of repentance, I hope you’ll join our Bayshore family for our Ash Wednesday service at 6:30 this evening. In this service we are reminded that we “are dust and to dust we will return;” now is the time to repent and believe the Gospel!