What is dead within us?

Life is precious; life is short; be intentional.

“The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” – Psalm 51:17

The marks of Ash Wednesday remind us of our mortality. From dust we have come and to dust we shall return.

I’m reminded of a children’s moment years ago. The pastor asked the kids, “If you are nice to your family, will that get you into heaven?” “No!” came the answer loud and clear. “If you come to church every Sunday, will that get you into heaven?” “No!” rang out loud and clear. “Well, how do you get into heaven?” One boy thought for a moment and blurted out, “First, you gotta get dead!” And everyone laughed.

But, when you think about it, he was correct. The one prerequisite for resurrection is death. And literal death is not all there is to death! We experience loss and brokenness all the time. Those are deaths. Loss and brokenness creep into our days – whether it is the loss of a dream or the brokenness of our lack of ability to function a certain way mentally or physically! The variety of deaths we experience can entomb us long before we literally turn into ashes.

Lent is the season that invites us to stop and consider the places and spaces in our lives that are, for all the world, dead. What is dead within us? What is dead in our relationships, our church, our society? To experience dead places can break our hearts. But the psalmist reminds us that it is precisely the very condition of heartbrokenness where God is present.

When we open our eyes to the ways the power of death has hold over us, and feel sorrow and contrition, God meets us there and can begin to ready us for the promised new life. Where there is God, there is resurrection!

Be the reason someone feels resurrection! Be the reason someone feels welcomed, seen, heard, valued, loved, and supported! Bring love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control into situations and share resurrection.

Shalom, Paul