February 27th. The True Identity of Ashes.

February 27th. The True Identity of Ashes.


Psalm 30:8-12

To you, O Lord, I cried,
    and to the Lord I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my death,
    if I go down to the Pit?
Will the dust praise you?
    Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
    O Lord, be my helper!”

11 You have turned my mourning into dancing;
    you have taken off my sackcloth
    and clothed me with joy,
12 so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

REFLECTION from Rev. Carter Sample

What if the answer to this question the Psalmist asks above is a  profound, “Yes?” Yes, once you go down to the pit, once you recognize that you are dust, this is when you truly discover the faithfulness of God. It is only once you realize that it was never your accomplishments that made God love you or your depth of faith that made God near, that you are able to to comprehend how truly beloved you have always been.

What if the very problem is that we actually believed we could ever live up to earning God’s approval? What if the idea that we were uniquely privileged, deserving of God’s love, that worked harder, were more moral, etc. was the very barrier that kept us from being the truly loved being that God created us to be?

After all, how can we join into the heart of God for the world when we don’t know it for ourselves?

For you can’t exchange sackcloth for joy until you believe you actually need to trade them. It is only once we are seen for who we are, that we are honest about our journey, our shortcomings and flaws, that we can trade it for joy. This is the important essence of the Psalms, the complaints and the pain must be named and exposed if we are also desire to rejoice. For true joy comes in true freedom and true freedom comes from being fully known.

From ashes you came and to ashes you will return is true. Ashes is what you are, but it is not all that you are. For it is also from great love that you came, it is love that holds you in this moment and every moment, and it is to love that you will one day return.

Listen to the whole sermon online.

As we remember that we are from ashes and that to ashes we will return, remind us too that we are from love, and to this love we will return. Amen.


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