On Ash Wednesday, as the ashes are placed on our foreheads, we hear, “Turn away from sin, and believe in the Good News.” What might these words mean?
Here are some reflections:
- …They tell us that sin and good news go hand in hand. You don’t get one without the other…The aim of bringing sin into the light is not to put ourselves or others under condemnation, but rather, to open up ourselves, our church, society and world, to the glorious opportunities for God’s salvation and redemption in every area of human life and activity. | Thabo Makgoba (Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa), Lenten Reflection
So often we think of admitting our sins as condemnation. Is it not instead about humbly asking God to redeem us?
- God help us to find our confession. | Michael Leunig, When I Talk to You: A Cartoonist Talks to God (HarperCollins, 2004)
Confessing our sins means knowing what they are, so they may be brought to light. What are your thoughts on this?
- God help us to change. To change ourselves and to change our world. To know the need for it. To deal with the pain of it. To feel the joy of it. To undertake the journey without understanding the destination. The art of gentle revolution. Amen. | Michael Leunig, When I Talk to You
It is with gentleness in which change brings life; not knowing where we are going, but trusting and believing in the mercy and gentleness of God.
- If you cannot be a friend to yourself, how can you be a friend to another? | Matteo Ricci SJ, On Friendship (Columbia University Press, 2009)
Turning away from sin is about rerouting one’s relationship toward God. God accepts us, welcomes us and loves us – and therein lies the challenge but also the grace for us – that we may accept, welcome and love ourselves as God loves us.
As we enter into the solemn and beautiful season of Lent, it is my prayer that we hold one another in compassion, mercy and gentleness, as we journey with Christ toward his Passion, death and resurrection. Amen.