Sal with ashes
Rend your hearts, not your garments.
"Even now, says the Lord, / return to me with your whole heart, / with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; / Rend your hearts, not your garments, / and return to the Lord, your God."
Happy Ash Wednesday! I reflected all day today about our forty blog adventure. Ash Wednesday is a time that we give up or offer things. There are so many ways to make this time special. When I went to receive my ashes, I listened intently to the readings again. The verse that stood out to me was rend your hearts, not your garments. This was such a powerful message and I love that it's from The book of Joel.
Reflecting on the readings the irony of them compared with my blog yesterday was uncanny. Each of the three readings today used the word hypocrite over and over. The readings made me want to focus on our hearts for these 40 days. I want us to genuinely have a change of heart. As we go through these 40 days hopefully our reflections together will clean out the clutter in our hearts. The important thing is that we do this in a very discreet, quiet way. This is key.
Another crucial factor of our 40 days together is that we create fruit from our sacrifices. For example if the kids in the back row quit buying cigarettes and smoking, that would be wonderful! But is that really enough? That's right front row. You can't get off that easy. If the kids give up the cigarettes they should have extra money, right? So do they buy a keg and have a party every weekend from the money they've saved? No sorry back row, you should use that money to help others. You could donate it to a food pantry, Matthew 25:40, or your church. Your sacrifice needs to help others. Does this analogy help?
We know our focus. Now we need to think of an action that would help clean out our heart. The action could be physical, emotional, or cerebral. Do we need to physically help others with bodies? Do we need to say we're sorry or ask for forgiveness? Do we need to forgive ourselves? Do we do we need to focus in prayer and think about how we can be a better person? Your homework today or tonight depending on how you read this is to take a few minutes and do a heart check. Think about what makes your heart hurt. What are things that happened to you that make your heart sad? Ask God to help your heart be glad. Think of how you can do the opposite and put it to action. Here's an example. Suppose someone at work or school made a rude comment. The comment could have been to you or someone else. When you see either the person that made the comment or the person who was affected by the comment, give that person a compliment just a smile. After you see them, whisper a prayer for them. The prayer can be simply, "Jesus help us to get along and love each other." This is your first assignment. Go out into the world tomorrow, smile at someone and say something nice, and whisper a prayer for the most difficult person you meet.
Sal the Heart Rending Gal
Sarah Anderson Alley
Quote of the day:
The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart.