This year on the sixth of March, Ash Wednesday, we hear once more, "You are dust and to dust you shall return." Though we are dust God calls us to more than dust, and God has built that hope into us. It is amazing how often we long for more, yet cling to less. The stuff of this life, the things, our bodies, what we touch all ends, and all comes from dust. This stuff is not the greatest joy or the greatest challenge in our life. The greatest joys and challenges of this life are all bound up in relationships. God's grace, God's redeeming is about restoring our broken relationship with God, and with one another. And for that there is only one way. It is a way of grace offered to all. This grace of God is forgiveness, power to live in right relationships with God and those in our lives, power to live in the obedience of faith. This Lenten season moves toward Resurrection! Being raised from the dead dust of selfish living in the flesh, to life in Christ. Life in Christ grows in God’s Spirit, filled with the Spirits fruit, grows in faith, and abides in Christ!
Relationships are the best and the worst thing in our life. We long for good relationships. You may have great heart ache, or even a wounded or broken heart because of relationships. The love of this world is not the same as the love of God, which heals the broken hearted. This love is the love we see in Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul the Apostle tells us in 2 Corinthians:
14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
Jesus calls us to, "Come, follow me." His living really is the way for us in our pursuit of happiness. We may ask why then is there so much that is not easy, and not happy in our life. We may say, "I just cannot forgive or love that person." Or “they refuse to love me.” We may carry a heavy and wounded heart. Part of the answer is in what we are holding onto. Are we holding onto Jesus, believing and receiving Him. There is no one else that can bind up the broken hearted. Jesus really is more than able to address what concerns us today. Jesus has clearly called us to "Seek first the kingdom of God, and God's righteousness." When we are seeking God's kingdom and God's righteousness we are part of God's renewing, redeeming, work. That work is a renewal in us as well as through us. In the midst of storms God brings calm. In the midst of sorrow God bring hope and even joy. When we feel bound, God sets captives free. As we move through this mingled life I pray you will dive deep with me into the love of God. Jesus takes the dust of mortality and death, buries them with our sin, and rises to give us newness of life in His Resurrection. May your Lenten walk lead you to resurrection in the joy of our risen King!
Working with you for your joy and peace in Christ Pastor Knoll
400 N Sawyer St, Oshkosh, WI 54902