Take This Cup: Ash Wednesday

by GREGG JENNINGS

Luke 1:1-56

What child is this that lay to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping? 

What child is this that cries out from my inner self still weeping?

What mortality is this, the ashen cross reminder upon my forehead creeping?

Older this year than last. Perhaps a few years older in the last 12 months of a pandemic. I feel both ancient in my body for having walked through this year of death, and at the same time I feel a fresh fire in my bones for seeing the Lord’s redemption as Jamie and I walked down the aisle to take our vows. A lot can happen in a year. A lot can happen in a day.

It is fitting to start Lent with the story of the Annunciation. Gabriel coming to the virgin, Mary coming to Elizabeth, John leaping in her womb, and the poverty-stricken Mary giving us words for this Ash Wednesday.

“He has pulled down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly.”

“He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty-handed.”

“He has come to the aide of his servant Israel, remembering his mercy, just as he promised…”

Every king and president is in that statement of Mary, so be cautious which ruler you give your life to. Every growling hungry belly is heard by the Lord as we expand our table of hospitality so be cautious with your money. Every shackled mind, body, and soul is within the scope of Christ’s deliverance and rescue, so be cautious of who you enslave with your resentments and bitterness.

Today he has remembered you in his mercy! We are pregnant on this journey as Mary was with Christ in her. We with the Spirit and her with the very DNA of God. May each new day in this journey of Lent give you labor pains for the kingdom of God coming. Ache for justice. Ache for evil to finally be dealt with. Ache for death to be finally undone. And may we do so with furious amounts of joy for he who has begun a good work in you, has promised to fulfill it.