Ash Wednesday Reflection

1 Corinthians 1:27
God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak to challenge the strong.
God chose the lowly, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

“God is always using people’s mistakes in their favour, to transform them.
Weakness becomes the means of God’s grace.
God is the perfect recycler and, in the economy of grace, nothing is wasted.”
– Richard Rohr

Instead of denying our sin, or beating ourselves up about it,
let’s simply allow God to use it to draw us closer to him
and open our hearts to others.
Today’s Lenten reflection is a quote from the Franciscan Friar Richard Rohr,
who tells us that God is the great recycler, and is always using our mistakes in our favour.
I believe that God gets far more excited about our sins than about our gifts.
Our gifts are wonderful things to have and play an important role in our lives,
but our sins, our messes, our seemingly utter incompetence, is our true gold.
It is this aspect of our life that can help us to develop and grow as human beings
more than anything else.

God wants an opportunity to work with our sins; to explore them with us,
to encourage us to explore why we keep making the same mess over and over again.
Our gifts and qualities can easily become a means for us to pat ourselves on the back,
a means to make us feel superior.
Whereas our sins and failures can be a powerful catalyst for change and growth;
a real opportunity to develop compassion and gentleness in our dealings with others.

Repentance is the means of giving God what God desires most,
the opportunity to help us develop and grow as human beings.
Repentance is all about offering God the messes in our lives,
so God can recycle them into something beautiful and worthwhile.
Sin is not an aberration in life, but a necessary part of life
to provide fuel on our journey to wholeness.
To deny our sin, ignore our sin, or be continually horrified at our sin,
is to deny, ignore, and be horrified by the very nectar of life.

That is not to deny the destructiveness of sin,
but sin is mostly destructive when we are afraid to face it and own it.
The repentance that Ash Wednesday calls us to is to own our failings,
and to be honest with ourselves and with God; and, most importantly,
to trust God with our sins and give God the opportunity to use them in our favour.

The anointing of Ash is a means of that repentance and an offering of that trust;
It is also a promise from God that such an offering will not be made in vain.