It will be smeared on my forehead this Wednesday.
That messy ash. That smudge to mark me. As a follower of Christ.
Not to mention- it means the start of Lent. The penance, the pruning, the picking up of crosses.
All to be a follower of Christ.
Ashes there to remind me. I’ll return to the dust. This side of life is short. Better hope the smudge wears off before too many see.
I have to admit to being fooled into thinking that real beauty is only what is pleasing to the senses and what looks good on the outside right now. And not that those aren’t wonderful and good things: The smell of a rose. The sight of a beautiful face. The mysterious landscape in a painting.
But sometimes life is messy. And circumstances repulsive to me. I don’t move toward them but run away…even from myself. I don’t see beauty on my face at all- just smudged on ashes on my face. Just me returning to dust.
But I’ve also lived through too many Lents now. I know how this works out. I’ve seen those black ashes can become beauty….that smudge become my path to glory.
And it’s worth the work to push on through to the other side of ashes.
What’s on the other side of ashes? Resurrection. Glory. Beauty. And Light. There’s only one way to do the work of black ashes into beauty. Mostly I don’t “work” at all. Surrender is the key….surrendering that mess to the One who came to transform it.
Do I believe He can love me enough this year, to meet me here in ashes?
I do. That’s what we say at a wedding. I do believe He loves me. I do believe He can transform this lowly body into a glorified one. (Phillipians 3:21) I do believe He can take me to the other side of ashes.
40 Days will bring me there. I wonder what He has in store for me this year.
I wonder what the smudge will teach me- about Him, about myself and about others.
But more than anything else, I’ll wonder about the other side of ashes.
Where I’ll see Him, me, everyone, and everything in radiant beauty and glory.
See you on the other side.