#ASHWEDNESDAY  MESSAGE ABOUT SIN AND GOD’S MERCY

So Lent is back with us. So quickly!  Wow. #AshWednesday.  Dust to dust. Ashes to ashes; marked on our foreheads  to remind us of our mortality. Fasting! But also Feasting. As we look forward to the glorious Easter. So we give up, and take on. In Jamaica. And in America.

All because of Sin!

Which is what led a 16 old high school girl, recently in Jamaica, in a fit of rage, to go home for a knife, after an argument, return and plunge that instrument into another young girl. Murder! 

And no amount of sophistry about ‘ how she was ‘socialized’, can deny the reality of sin causing her to commit murder.
So what is sin? A very uncomfortable term in today’s modern world! I began writing last night, and as I  woke, gave thanks for another day,  and started writing again, Oswald Chambers spoke. Again!
First a quote from Stalker- a contemporary of his and a poet. An extract from :

THE BASE IMPULSE 
” But, ah, through all men some base impulse runs

The brute the father, and the men the sons

Which if one harshly sets himself to subdue,

With fiercer indolence it boils anew,

He ends the worst who with best hopes began,

How hard it is this, how like the lot of man!

THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE FALL – 1

It is said, it was because Adam ate the apple that he was lost or fell. I say, it was becuase of his claiming something for his own, and becuase of his, I, Mine, Me, and the like.

Had he eaten seven apples, and yet never claimed anything for his own, he would not have fallen: but as soon as he called something his own, he fell, and would have fallen if he never had touched an apple.
( pretty much what Jesus said about listing after your neighbors wife….sin. Even if you don’t touch her. That’s what got David in trouble. Long before he ‘ interfered’ with Bathsheba!…my thoughts)
Chambers continues:
What is true of Adam is true of every man and woman, and ‘ not all mankind could amend his fall, or bring him back from going astray’.

This inheritance of covetousness is the very essence of the Fall, and no praying and no power of man, singly or banded together, can ever avail to touch it; the only thing that can touch it is the great Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Lust and covetousness are summed up in the phrase, ‘ I must have it at once and for myself’.

It is an absolute flood in the nature of man, it overtakes his spirit, it overtakes his soul and body…..manifesting itself sometimes in sordid ways…..sometimes suppressed….but it is always there….
Comment: That’s why one of  foundation truths of Christianity is that :” All  ( from Adam) have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God…..and the wages of Sin is death, but the gift of God is Eternal Life in Christ Jesus “. Romans 3:23 & 6:23.

But some were unhappy about #AshWednesday.

How does one religion get to impose on the rest of the population a day of  significance only to their denomination in a secular state? Twitter

 

My answers 

#Christianity. As an Anglican we did not impose. Our history #Christmas #GoodFriday #Easter Can’t have them without #AshWednesday #Package https://t.co/SoeayyTB7T
 aware. But surely he does not wish to give up #Christmas. As they are all joined at the hip. Literally!

Meanwhile my daughter searched for a service in the USA. A working day.  After the early morning 7 am service, #Drivebyashes is all she could find. Almost sounds like fast food. Grab and run. 

In Jamaica it’s a holy day. And a holiday. Did a video to remind people of the tradition. Posted on  Facebook. 

FACEBOOK ONE 

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. A period of fasting and repentance. A time of expectation as we look forward to a Blessed Easter. A time therefore of Fasting and Feasting – The Sermon by Sister Andrea Taylor.   A time therefore to give up but also a time to take on. The video shows the Anglican tradition of the imposition of ashes. As Lent reminds us of our mortality- Dust we are and unto dust we shall return

Let us then commit to observing a Holy Lent
https://youtu.be/12ry_9Ox9Oc

Then, the fourth verse, and it has more, of this wonderful hymn below,  kept  reverberating in my head  yesterday.  As I walked. As I got ready  to leave home. As I drove to work.

HYMN 
My God, how wonderful Thou art,

Thy majesty, how bright;

How beautiful Thy mercy seat

In depths of burning light!
How dread are Thy eternal years,

O everlasting Lord,

By prostrate spirits day and night

Incessantly adored!
How wonderful, how beautiful,

The sight of Thee must be;

Thy endless wisdom, boundless power,

And glorious purity!
O how I fear Thee, living God,

With deep and tender fear;

And worship Thee with trembling hope,

And penitential tears!
Yet, I may love Thee, too, O Lord,

Almighty as Thou art;

For Thou hast stooped to ask of me

The love of my poor heart!

Along with :

 ” For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Christ,   so that the his  life  may be revealed in our mortal body “. 2. Cor. 4:11

All of this as I contemplated what sin has done to our world. To our relationships. As, with many others in Jamaica and in the USA, I pondered on whether or not US Attorney General Jeff Sessions perjured himself before Congress. Lied. Sinned.
And whether or not Kartel, recorded new music in prison,  still a live issue in Jamaica, and someone is not telling us the truth. Lying. Committing a sin.
How we are ever going to put a stop to murder?  And corruption. In Jamaica! Both manifestations of Sin which is destroying our once peaceful land. 
And #rompinshoponthebus style behaviour in the schools between ‘hypersexual’ boys and girls. Sin. 

One teacher told me recently that she styles herself as ‘ #BirthControl. Because she deliberately inserts herself from time to time in the male bathroom. The scene of ‘ action’, in the school!

#Whereitsat.

And so as I ” read my Bible – and other divinely inspired works –  to see what men ought to do; and read my newspapers to see what men are doing’, these thoughts came and found expression on Facebook.

 FACEBOOK  TWO 
We entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God – 2 Cor. 5:21  One of the readings for #AshWednesday in my church 

What do you make of this?

#Lent a time for repentance – a road which leads to reconciliation with God in and through Christ Jesus. For since #TheFall – when all of mankind’s forefather Adam sinned, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God

Facebook Three

The Bible is the only book that tells us anything about the originator of sin…… When we are convicted of sin, we are convicted of the need of a Saviour……

According to the Bible, God is only manifested at the last point; when a man is driven by personal experience to the last limit, he is apt to find God.

The same thing is true of thinking, we can do very well without God in thinking as long as we think only as splendid animals.

As long as we are not at the last place, not facing our problems at all, but simply pleased to be in existence, alive and happy, we will never find God,  we do not see any need for Him.

But when we are driven to thinking to the last limit, then we begin to find that God manifests Himself there.

To people who are satisfied on too shallow a level the Bible is a book of impertinences, but whenever human nature is driven to the end of things, then the Bible becomes the only Book, and God the only being in the world.

Oswald Chambers 

#BedtimeDevotions 

Perhaps Jeff Sessions and even Donald Trump might soon appreciate this truth……and not hold on to #alternatetivefact.
Final  comments:
One of the great joys of life, and why repentance and #AshWednesday #Lent #GoodFriday and #Easter and #Christmas….a package… are so important, is revealed in the words of the Hymn.
For : How wonderful, how beautiful,

The sight of Thee must be;

Thy endless wisdom, boundless power,

And glorious purity!……God is a Holy God, and cannot countenance Sin. Nor sinful man.
And yet: 

Yet, I may love Thee, too, O Lord,

Almighty as Thou art;

For Thou hast stooped to ask of me

The love of my poor heart…..in and through the Atonement of Christ, wrought on Calvary… “Very God, from Very God “. All because of God’s great love and mercy!
That’s why grateful Christians:
” For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Christ,   so that the his  life  may be revealed in our mortal body”. ….and spread across the entire world.
So that all mankind….Kartel, Sessions, Trump, Obama, Usain Bolt, Messi, LeBron, Currie, Viola Gray, Will Smith, Prince Harry, Andrew Holness, Peter Phillips….all of us, including and especially my family and I, thank God for Jesus, ( and St. Paul, and all the Saints who taught us to love Jesus) ….  may not perish but have everlasting life. That’s what Lent is all about. 
May we then engage in a Holy Lent,  and earnestly repent on behalf of self and nation. And who knows, perhaps the Lord in His mercy may send times of ‘ refreshing’ on us. Where ever we are in the world!

Peace

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