Lenten Journey of Care – Week 1 (Ash Wednesday)
To begin at the beginning feels almost faux pa…
As if every story needs a beginning.
As if “Once upon a time” seems the most fitting for any story.
A way to let us, the reader, know that this is, in fact, the beginning.
Yet, OUR beginning cannot be marked by time (or any manner of measurement really) it is marked by the action of a divine creator who sought within themselves to create, not just a place, but a creature.
A creature within whom their entire love could reside. A creature who would be endowed with the very Spirit of God.
If creation is the beginning of a journey then we can mark ourselves on that journey as the embodiment of they who created us. Except, the God that created us is spiritual and we are physical. So God sought to give us form and an image of themselves that exists beyond the bounds of time.
“then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.”1
As a potter does with clay so too were we formed and molded.
“Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”2
The image of humanity was created in the beginning.
As an act of creation. As an act of love.
Our physical bodies, a vessel to keep safe the untarnished image of the God of Love in whom we are created. And yet, the physical bodies hold the image of creation, and our creator as well, each more different, more unique than the next.
While the image of God within us is the image of those who created us. The bodies that we see are the lasting image of the creator and creation from the very first image of humanity. We are all created from the dust of the earth from ash, and so we begin this Lenten journey with that “ashen reminder.”
We are connected by the image of love within us, a spiritual image, and the dust of the earth that forms our visible image.
We are connected by creation, and by the love of the creator who gave us life.
We are reminded as much about the love God shed upon the Earth in creation as we are about God’s love that we feel shed upon us now.
Creation is not just a story of how we got here…
but a story of why we are here as well.
We are here because God created us because God loves us.
“For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed. How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! I try to count them—they are more than the sand; I come to the end —I am still with you.” 3
Most Holy and Gracious Creator:
In your immense and loving presence, you sought a relationship. Relationship not just with creation, but with a very creature that you created. In that gift, you gave us the breath of life, the spirit of love endowed within us. As we enter this season, may we humble ourselves in creation, may we connect with the fragility of life, and may we see the love you have given to us that offers us life beyond the failing of our physical bodies. May we seek to grow in love for this creature, this person you have created, and in doing so connect with you and your creation more deeply. May it strengthen our love for you and our love for our neighbors, whom you too created in love. We pray this in Christ’s name, AMEN!!!
Genesis 2:7, NRSV, https://bible.com/bible/2016/gen.2.7.NRSV
Isaiah 64:8, NRSV, https://bible.com/bible/2016/isa.64.8.NRSV – As you will probably have noticed I have generally stayed away from male imagery/language for God. However, since this is a passage of scripture I have kept “Father” in this part of my reflection.
Psalms 139:13-18, NRSV, https://bible.com/bible/2016/psa.139.13-18.NRSV