How are you celebrating February 14 this year? As Valentine’s Day? Or as Ash Wednesday? For the first time in over 70 years, Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday fall on the same day. This may create a celebration dilemma for some. Steak dinner, wine and chocolate OR soup supper, worship and Holy Communion. When you think about it though, these holidays (holy days) are a perfect match.
On Ash Wednesday, we remember we will all die. We are human. We make mistakes. But are also loved and cherished by a divine God who shows that love by sending his only Son to live and lie for us. This is the greatest love story ever!
The only reason we are able to show love to each other is because God loved us first. Wrapped in the confidence of acceptance and love, we are empowered to love others. Human love has faults and short-comings unlike God’s, but it all starts with God’s love and ends with God’s forgiveness and grace.
Return to the Lord your God,
for God is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Joel 2:13
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6: 21
Our Bible readings for Ash Wednesday point to God’s heart for humanity and our need for relationship with God. We will celebrate the gift of human relationships and remember the greatest gift–relationship with the Creator and Redeemer.
The cross of ashes put on your forehead is a sign of the most powerful love ever. A Love willing to suffer and die for YOU and for ALL.
With ashes on our forehead, we boldly go out to eat chocolate and give thanks for those most precious to us. We are assured of forgiveness for the many ways we hurt each other. Through God’s transforming love we are empowered to love the vulnerable, lonely, suffering, unloved, and unlovable in Jesus’ name.