My journal page for Ash Wednesday – Week 1 of Lent.
I’m committed to doing one page with a Lenten theme for each of the 6 weeks. I’m not focusing on “making art,” but on what this season means to me. I have a 6 x 6 journal that I purchased last year to record scripture-related art that meant something special to me. I began the first page of that journal with the first week of Lent last year. Now, with this year, I will actually finish the last 7 pages of the journal with an entry for each week of Lent and one for the week of Easter. I think it’s rather amazing how that worked out.
(For any of you not familiar with the tradition of placing ashes on the forehead to publicly recognize the need for repentance and the beginning of this period of Jesus’ suffering for us, I’ll tell you that the spot on her forehead represents those ashes.)
Search the scriptures, surely they the story tell:
Insatiable evil strikes; the Lamb is slain.
But surely, it’s my sins He bore, my sorrow and shame,
My sickness, my distress, my grief, my pain.
Submitted Sacrifice: He sealed the promise;
Sufficient, He bought me peace with God again.
Again this week, as I have for all the other Lenten lessons, I am refraining from comment on the scriptures. I just want to share them and let the Lord speak to your hearts and bless you with what He has to say. The passages this week come from Psalm 1 and Psalm 2.
“Why are the nations in an uproar,
And the people’s devising a vain thing?
The kings of the earth take their stand,
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the Lord and against His Anointed:
He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
Now therefore, O kings, show discernment:
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
Worship the Lord with reverence,
And rejoice with trembling.”
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of the sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season,
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.”
As I did the first two weeks, so also this week I’m allowing God’s Word to speak for itself in these scripture found in the church liturgical calendar for the third week of Lent. The passages are from Psalm 25 and Psalm 106. I’m not adding any of my own thoughts, but I hope you will let these passages impart to your own hearts the thoughts the Holy Spirit wants to share with each one individually.
“Remember, O Lord, Thy tender mercies and Thy loving-kindnesses: for they have been ever of old. Let not mine enemies triumph over me: God of Israel, deliver us out of all our troubles. Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul: O my God, I trust in Thee; let me not be ashamed. The troubles of my heart are enlarged: oh, bring Thou me out of my distresses. Look upon my affliction and my pain: and forgive all my sins.”
“O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endures forever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Who can show forth His praise? Blessed are they that keep judgment: and he that does righteousness at all times. Remember me, O Lord, in Thy favor toward Thy people. Oh, visit me with Thy salvation.”
This week’s Lenten lesson comes from sections of Psalm 51 and Psalm 91. Once again, I’m refraining from commenting on the passages. I’ll let God’s Word speak for itself. I hope you find these words comforting and inspiring during this season.
“Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
. . .
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with Hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
. . .
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.
. . .
O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it:
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart –
These, O God, You will not despise.”
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
. . .
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him;
With long life I will satisfy him
And show him My salvation.”
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, which, for the Christian world, is the beginning of the Lenten season, when we focus on the specifics of Jesus Christ’s suffering and death for us. I’m running slightly behind, since we are to Thursday already, but I’d like to share a scripture passage from the Word of God each week of Lent as a way of observing this important time. I’m not going to comment on the passages, but just let them speak for themselves and trust that you, my readers, will be blessed by God’s own words.
This week’s passage if from the epistle lesson suggested for Ash Wednesday: Sections of Joel 2:12-19.
“‘Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. …
“Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a sacred assembly; gather the people; sanctify the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children and nursing babes; let the bridegroom go out from his changer, and the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say,’Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give your people to reproach., that the nations should rule over them.’ …
“Then the Lord will be zealous for His land and pity His people. The Lord will answer and say to His people, ‘Behold I will send you grain and new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.’”