Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Phoenix for Ash Wednesday

Today's devotion is from my magnificent wife, Beth.

For dust you are, and to dust you will return.” Genesis 3:19b

If you’re from a traditional church, you’re probably used to the Ash Wednesday traditions—ashes on the forehead, this verse from Genesis. Death. It’s how we start Lent every year: a reminder of dying. Cheery, no? If you’re not from a traditional church, you’ve probably still watched the switch: Mardi Gras beads and fried foods to a lot of really bummed out Christians giving things up.
I’m weird. I’ve always loved Ash Wednesday. The ceremony of getting ashes, and being reminded that I’m only here temporarily is comforting to me. It helps me to let go of those small things that I think are so big. But God has more for us than that. Genesis 3:19 is part of the curse: when humanity separated itself from God by sin, death was the consequence, and we see it all around us. But that wasn’t the end of the story. At the perfect time, God sent a Savior to break sin’s curse, complete the story, and bring a new one to Life.
We’re starting a journey, walking with Jesus and remembering what it took for him to break the curse of sin. When I see the ashes of Ash Wednesday, and the power of Jesus, I see a phoenix. A phoenix is a beautiful firebird born from the ashes of its death. It bursts forth bright with new life, not holding on to old death, but soaring in new life. Christ died and gave life. Die to live.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they’re a new creation: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Try to discover something God is making new in you. What is dead that He wants to bring to life?

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