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The Essential Contrast 022212
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and 40 days prior to Easter. Jesus spent 40 days fasting and praying in the desert before beginning his public ministry, so Ash Wednesday likewise marks the beginning of a 40 day period of fasting and prayer leading up to and preparing for Easter, This, like the rest of the church calendar and liturgical calendar seem to focus around a general plan of spiritual formation and Lent is directed toward the extended fasting and prayer, like Jesus, for 40 days and nights.
The ashes of Ash Wednesday signify mourning, and in the case of Christians, signify repentance and the forgiveness of God. Ash Wednesday is for fasting and prayer, for those whose health permits fasting. We can pray certainly, even if we’re unhealthy and pray for health.
Like the royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum, we just need to believe in Jesus to be healed, and to heal. It is a story of deep passion and rich human emotion. There is nothing more poignant than the words of the official ‘Sir, come down before my little boy dies.’
The story from John presents a wonderful contrast, and I think, an essential contrast between Jesus and the New Testament good news and the readings from Psalm 6 and Job 30. Each of these Old Testament scriptural selections is dark, deep and angry from way down deep. They are full of grief and despair, and each is a plea in desperation for help from God.
But healing, and life for the little come easy from Jesus. Jesus brings light and life to the dark regions of the Old Testament and he comes to us easily, with kindness and love.
Pray for peace,
Peace Mennonite Church keeps a prayer list for those in need. If you need prayer, or want to e-mail our pastor, e-mail billd @ peacemennonitechurch.net (Take out the extra spaces to use this e-mail—the spaces confuse spam generators).
Pray with us!
We are praying as a church, and attempting to follow the centuries’ old tradition of praying with other Christians three times a day. We are following the prayer liturgy at www.commonprayer.net
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO Permission is granted for one-time non-commercial use with proper attribution.
Scriptures follow the meditation and thoughts. Scriptures for the day selected by http://www.commontexts.org/
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1O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger, or discipline me in your wrath.
2Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror.
3My soul also is struck with terror, while you, O Lord—how long?
4Turn, O Lord, save my life; deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love.
5For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who can give you praise?
6I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.
7My eyes waste away because of grief; they grow weak because of all my foes.
8Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
9The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord accepts my prayer.
10All my enemies shall be ashamed and struck with terror; they shall turn back, and in a moment be put to shame.
16“And now my soul is poured out within me; days of affliction have taken hold of me. 17The night racks my bones, and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest. 18With violence he seizes my garment; he grasps me by the collar of my tunic. 19He has cast me into the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes. 20I cry to you and you do not answer me; I stand, and you merely look at me. 21You have turned cruel to me; with the might of your hand you persecute me. 22You lift me up on the wind, you make me ride on it, and you toss me about in the roar of the storm. 23I know that you will bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living. 24“Surely one does not turn against the needy, when in disaster they cry for help. 25Did I not weep for those whose day was hard? Was not my soul grieved for the poor? 26But when I looked for good, evil came; and when I waited for light, darkness came. 27My inward parts are in turmoil, and are never still; days of affliction come to meet me. 28I go about in sunless gloom; I stand up in the assembly and cry for help. 29I am a brother of jackals, and a companion of ostriches. 30My skin turns black and falls from me, and my bones burn with heat. 31My lyre is turned to mourning, and my pipe to the voice of those who weep.
46Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. 47When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” 50Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. 51As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. 52So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, “Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.” 53The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he himself believed, along with his whole household. 54Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Ash Wednesday: February 22, 2012 (prayerbookguide.wordpress.com)
- Ash Wednesday Prayer 2012 (godspace.wordpress.com)
- CMMB: Your Weekly Reflection in Prayer (deaconjohnspace.wordpress.com)
- Ash Wednesday and the Beginning of Lent (stjohnscathedral.ca)
- 5 Simple Ways to Share Your Catholic Faith On Ash Wednesday (marysaggies.blogspot.com)
- Ash Wednesday Feb. 22 (olmcnews.wordpress.com)
- Wednesday worship during Lent (tlcmsn.org)
- An Ash Wednesday Reflection (friarbobjohn.wordpress.com)