Ash Wednesday is the Day of Salvation

2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, 
“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
    and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” 
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

Today Christians across the globe will observe Ash Wednesday. This year, the day on which we allow our faces to be marked falls on Valentine's Day. How romantic is that? For those of us who choose to share in this observance that begins the journey of Lent, we may decide to forgo Valentine's Day. 

In the meditation I will share, and which will pop up this evening, I will focus on the reading from Matthew 6, which begins by telling us to beware of practicing our piety in public (so much for having our faces marred by ash). In the reading from 2 Corinthians, we  hear Paul declare that we who follow Jesus are his ambassadors, making an appeal on behalf of Jesus, calling on the world to be reconciled to God.  
The word we hear is that this day, the day of the ashes, is the day of salvation. Perhaps we might hear in this word that Paul offers, pledging not to put an obstacle in the way of reconciliation occurring, an invitation to make confession concerning the obstacles we have put up that deter reconciliation. In other words, before we can make known the word about reconciliation, we first must be reconciled to God. Of course, Paul does give an account of the challenges his has faced in life, but which he overcame. We may not face as many obstacles to our own faith journeys, but most assuredly we can commit ourselves to not be obstacles ourselves. 
Thus, we make our confession to God, seeking forgiveness and restoration, for today is the day of salvation. I invite you who read this today, to take a moment to consider what it means to be agents of reconciliation. May this be our calling this Lenten season. 


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