Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday Thoughts

I go to a church where there is a service for Ash Wednesday.
You walk up and they put a literal ash cross on your forehead.

I love it.

Ash Wednesday kicks off the season of lent.  The ash cross is supposed to be an outer manifestation on an inner repentance to sin.  It's symbolic...and probably really weird to a very secular city...San Francisco.

Just to worn you, I'm not 100% sure where this post is going.  I've just been thinking a lot about sin and my overall faith journey.

I used to think that I knew exactly what was up with Christianity.
Basically I thought I had the Bible NAILED DOWN.  Bam.  All those debatable issues, yeah, I knew EXACTLY what they meant.  Maybe I'm being a little dramatic but I'm pretty sure I at least acted like I new everything.

So let me preface this by saying that there are some very obvious things in Scripture that are nondebatable...I call these "salvation issues".  Basically if you take these away or leave them up for interpretation then you are breaking down the very principles and foundation of Christianity.

But there are a lot of things that are highly debatable.  That are perplexing.
Definitely not salvation issues.  And unfortunately these are the things that have caused an absurd amount of division within the Church. 

To be honest, I actually like to talk about these issues.  I think it's really fun to "bend the mind" and try to imagine what God was maybe thinking in regard to certain parts of the Bible.  But I also have a very different mind set then I once did.  I think I've realized that I don't know much of anything.  And even if I think I know...I'm a little reticent to voice with affirmation much of anything besides the basic principles of Scripture.  Because really...who am I?  Who am I to think that I have God all figured out?  Who am I to say, "Oh, no you are most definitely wrong on that point?"  Because maybe I AM wrong.

We were talking about this in our Mom's group last Wednesday and then as if to push the point even farther in my mind our pastor preached on it.  He called us as a congregation out.  Who in Scripture was always pointing the finger and saying, "Oh no, you are interpreting that Scripture wrong.  WE know God's will."?  The pharisees.  Boo to the Pharisees.  Yay to Jesus who chose to not focus on those details of Scripture that aren't KEY and instead chose to love those around Him...especially the unlovable, alienated ones.

I think during this Lent season I am choosing to focus a whole lot more on Jesus and His crazy, wild, radical love for others.  I am choosing to embrace the mysteriousness of God.  I'm choosing to just rest and take Him in.  I want to serve others and love others and include others.  I'm not very good at any of those.  I wish I was.

With God though all things are possible.  Which sure is a good thing.  :)

P.S.  I promise the next post will be my normal, nonsense post.  What's up with all this serious stuff Anna?  Simmer on down now.  :)


  1. i'm always working and in the financial district during ash wednesday. all the catholics seem to go to old st. mary's which holds 7 services throughout the day and they are all jam-packed. it's such a hoot to see everyone with ashes milling about after service.

    1. Before going to the church we go now (we aren't catholic though) I didn't really know much about Ash Wednesday. I just remember my high school counselor having what I thought was dirt on his head and having basically EVERY student say, "Hey, you after dirt on your head!" haha.