“Even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
~Joel 2:12-13 (NIV)
How often do we feel that something is beyond us? We might feel like we’ve stuffed up too badly, or that we’re a disappointment, or that we’re not good enough, or we’ve let someone down, or it just all seems too hard, or…?
And yet, God will still always say “Even now”. ‘“Even now” return to me. “Even now” you are still my child. “Even now” you are loved. “Even now” there is nothing you can do to separate yourself from me.’
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the forty-day season in the church calendar called Lent, a time for preparing and looking forward to what will happen at Easter. Ash Wednesday is so-called because of the traditional of making the sign of the cross on the forehead with ashes. The action is generally accompanied by the words “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19, Ecclesiastes 3:20) or “Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15).
“Even now” you can repent and believe. “Even now” God is still glad for creating you. “Even now” you are still loved.
A reflection based on the Lenten Cross Reading for Ash Wednesday.