Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ashes and Hope

I had the privilege of leading the folks of Hope Chapel in an Ash Wednesday worship service tonight. I wanted to share my opening/welcome words in hopes that you'd be encouraged at this beginning of lent.

Ash Wednesday is about death.

For some, death isn't something we like to think about. It's dark, depressing-- a thought to be avoided. For you, Ash Wednesday can be a beautifully sobor dose of perspective. There is some urgency to God'scall on your life to love him with your whole heart, soul, and mind, and to love your neighbor.

For others, death may seem all to near. Just six hours ago, Hannah and I slid into a pew in a chapel in Winston Salem for the funeral of a 23 month-old toddler named King*, who died of leukemia on Friday. We wept and mourned the inexplicable loss with the people there. This should not be so. Many of you here have had difficult months and years and you feel the reality of death. For you, Ash Wednesday can be a beautifully hopeful reminder that there is MORE. Lent begins with Ashes but ends with Resurrection. Hope prevails. Death has lost its sting.

So wherever you are tonight, welcome. 


*Hannah also wrote up some thoughts about today....

Today was Baby King's funeral. To say that his funeral was beautiful and honoring would be an understatement. The room was filled with his family, friends, and beloved nurses, and I sat and wept and ached for heaven.

Michael sang the song, Psalm 126, during the service:

Our mouths they were filled, filled with laughter
Our tongues they were loosed, loosed with joy
Restore us, O Lordea

Restore us, O Lord
Although we are weeping

Lord, help us keep sowing
The seeds of Your Kingdom
For the day You will reap them
Your sheaves we will carry
Lord, please do not tarry
All those who sow weeping
Will go out with songs of joy
The nations will say, “He has done great things!”

The nations will sing songs of joy

Restore us, O Lord
Restore us, O Lord

1 comment:

  1. 'Death may seem all too near'. So true - mourning with you all over the loss of baby King, yet also encouraged by your words. Thanks for sharing them.


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