First Day of Lent, Ash Wednesday

Matthew 3:1-17

What a dramatic beginning to our Lenten journey: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness”. “Thunder in the desert!”, transcribes Eugene Peterson: Prepare. Pay attention. Repent. Remember.

The Old Testament prophet remix, transitioner, throwback extraordinaire, John the Baptist, comes boldly announcing the soon coming and now here Kingdom of God. The rule and reign of God is closer than you think. On message: Wake up. Watch. Turn. Return.

This is a bold, confident, clear, and dramatic word from John. Then the Word shows up and John is less confident and clear: What?! Me baptize you?! Why?! Are you sure?!

Jesus, now the bold, clear and confident says, “Let it be.” Let it be: Foreshadowing. A sign for those who see. An act of obedience. Surrender.

Let it be the beginning of my journey.

As Jesus wades into the waters of the Jordan He takes the first steps towards the cross. He is acknowledging death to self and the call of God as life. In response, He receives the assurance of the Father’s love.

As we wade into the journey of Lent, we take our first steps towards the cross. Some of us come bold and confident of the journey we’re on and the call God has placed on our lives. Others - not so much. Together we (along with followers of Jesus across time) acknowledge in this Lenten journey a call to: Prepare. Pay attention. Turn and Return to God. Remember the life and death of Jesus. Remember our own life and death.

How will you mark this Lenten journey? How might you awake each new day alert to the call and purpose of God on you? What might Jesus be inviting you to in obedience and surrender in this season of life as clear or confusing as it may be?

On this first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, many will be marked by the sign of the cross with ash. We remember the call and promise of death which is the power of sin. Like Jesus wading into the waters of the Jordan acknowledging all that was to come, when we honestly remember the death we deserve to die, we remember the death Jesus did die for us. And like Jesus, we receive the affirmation and full assurance of the Father’s love: “this is my child whom I love.”

Prepare. Pay attention. Repent. Remember.

Glenn Peterson
Strathmore, AB