Today is Ash Wednesday. In our Reformed tradition, we have not tended to make a big deal about this day. In many Christian circles, this is the day when ashes are imposed upon the foreheads of those who attend short services that set the tone for what our focus should be over these next 40 days.
The day is a day of fasting and remembrance. It points us back to the 40 days that Jesus endured wilderness temptation and toward the coming passion-tide as we recall Jesus’ journey to the cross. Additionally, the ashes remind us that we were formed from dust and it is to dust that our bodies return. In short, the message of Ash Wednesday can summed up with Jesus own words; “Repent and believe! The Kingdom of God is near!”
Traditionally, this is a season in which we are called to give up, to fast, to enter into an experience that points us to Jesus’ suffering in the wilderness and on the journey to the cross; that our relationship with God might deepen, our need for the grace of Christ’s death and resurrection be highlighted, and our appreciation for His loving acts be multiplied.
Today as we step into Lent, Oakwood has two opportunities to press into the Kingdom of God. Multiply is a book study the offers the option of discussing in person or through the internet. Multiply, written by Francis Chan, is a book that helps Christians think about sharing our faith, and fulfilling the Great Commission. We have 2 cases of the book at church, and they are available free of charge.
The second opportunity for you to press into the Kingdom of God in this Lenten season is Prayer Shield. Prayer Shield is a program that pairs church members together to be in prayer for one another. There will be encouraging notes from the prayer team for participants as you develop a relationship with your assigned prayer ally and experience the blessings of being in a prayer partnership.
My hope and prayer is that as Oakwood comes together in prayer and study, we will be better equipped to become who Christ has said we are: ambassadors for His Kingdom. You should have received informational emails about both of these programs with the invitation to reply to sign up (please contact Pastor Kevin or the church office if you did not get the emails).
The email addresses to sign up are:
Almighty God, you have created us out of the dust of the earth. On this Ash Wednesday, may we remember that our lives are fleeting, that you are holy, and apart from your grace, we are not. May we remember who and whose we are, that we might celebrate with repentance and joy, the everlasting life given us through Jesus Christ our Lord. As we remember, help us to seize the opportunities given us to press into your Kingdom as part of your forever family. As we do, may you receive glory, honor, and praise! Amen.