Ash Wednesday Looking within
For these first three days, we are going to reflect on how our Team Logo can help us pray.
The logo describes three movements for us in our life of faith, facing up – connecting with God (and it is so easy in a busy or anxious life to forget God); facing outwards – with a concern for others, a concern for justice, for the well-being of our community and our planet (and it is so easy to become selfish or self-absorbed), and looking within, which is this honest introspection, making time in the day to reflect – and our faith should be a dynamic dance between these three aspects, our day should include all three – focus on God, on others, and self-reflection.
Keep these three in mind as we journey through Lent and learn to pray
Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent, traditionally a time when we receive ‘ash’ which is a double sign – a sign of our mortality and our human frailty, and also a sign of our penitence and sorrow for where we have sinned – against God and against others.
We will take the LookingWithin focus particularly today. We take time to look at ourselves and not avoid uncomfortable things.
As we start on our Lent journey we don’t know how it will go; we may be quite excited, or we may be quite uncertain, we may feel good about ourselves or we may have a low view of self.
What would you like to get from this Course? Pause for a moment to think and maybe write something down
Lent is a time for honesty. TS Eliot wrote: ‘humankind cannot bear very much reality’
Although we are not in church, we can do two things as we start Lent.
- We can acknowledge we have “sinned” – done wrong, failed to do what is right. We will have let other people down, failed to give, made other people feel less, not kept our promises but kept a grudge. Some of us have also been horribly sinned against – may we seek out God’s healing.
The old prayer book says we have sinned, ‘through ignorance, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault’. Sometimes a mixture of these, maybe all of them. Let us acknowledge before God that we have sinned,
- BUT also let us claim the forgiveness that God offers; God still loves us deeply and we are still his children. Some of us have been hurt badly by others – that is a reality that is hard to bear and cannot be ignored. We may need to bear that reality and ask God for the beginning of healing.
- We may need to say sorry to someone
- We may need to change our attitude about someone / let go a grudge
- We may need to ask God to give us a new love for someone.
- We may need to know that God loves us.
The Prayer for Ash Wednesday
Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: create and make in us new and contrite hearts
that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may receive from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission, and forgiveness.
Look at the words of the Prayer for today, reflect on them and when you are ready, pray them in truth and faith.