Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent.
Ashes signify repentance, and the dust-to-dustness human nature of our lives. As children of Adam, we all are made from dust or dirt, possessing “mortal flesh.” We are in need of cleansing from our dirtiness and sinfulness.
The prophet Isaiah knew this, so when in a vision he stood before the throne of God surrounded by angels, he cried, “Woe is me!” God cleansed him with forgiving, purifying mercy. The angels around the throne rejoiced!
Here is a video for Ash Wednesday that captures those truths. It references the vision in Isaiah chapter 6, and connects purifying forgiveness to the ultimate act of God on the cross. It is set to the music of an ancient song: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.
Find a quiet place on this Ash Wednesday. Clear your schedule for 20 minutes. Turn on the volume. Say the BEFORE prayer below before watching the video, and the AFTER prayer after watching the video. Spend a moment on this holy day in quiet meditation, then share in discussion with family or friends. Engage your kids with the video, as they will see images of Jesus’ birth and crucifixion, as well as angels in worship of the King of kings.
BEFORE PRAYER: Dear holy God, as I contemplate the weight of my sins and the burden of my guilt, I sink in despair that there is no hope for mortal flesh like mine. I cannot be the good person you demand that I be—perfect in every way. I realize the reality of pain, heartache, trouble and ultimately death. I only ask that in your mercy you save me, not because I am worthy but because you are full of mercy and compassion. Open my eyes now, to see in the animation of this video your precious promises being fulfilled in the death of your Son Jesus, and the rejoicing of angels as the holy collides with the unholy and overcomes it. Amen.
AFTER PRAYER: Dear gracious God, today is a day for silence, for quiet meditation, for repentance and for an inner joy and confidence that you are so serious about saving me that your Son suffered for all my sins. It’s so real, and it’s so done. Finished. Complete. Now, during this season of Lent, I want to give up sinning, I want to endure temptation with more resilience, and I want to love you with all my heart and mind and soul and strength. I am awed by your love, and truly appreciate the power of your promise that I’m forgiven and free from sin’s curse and control. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read Isaiah 6:1-8. Visualize elements of the video that you noticed with special interest. What promise of God do they communicate to you today? How will holding this promise close during the 40 days of Lent help you?