Ash Wednesday

Read: Luke 1v46– 55 

Meditate: Think of the last time you badly wanted something to happen and had to be patient. Maybe you were waiting for someone you loved to come home from a long trip. Maybe it was an all-important letter that took for ever to arrive. Remember what it felt like, day after day, to feel your patience getting stretched thin. Sometimes, perhaps, hope seemed to run out altogether. Then, one day, it happened. Or rather, the first tell-tale signs arrived. The plane touched down. The letter with the crucial postmark landed on the mat. And the celebration began – began in your heart and soul, and perhaps in your voice as well. Even before the person appeared, even before you opened the letter, you started to dance inside with joy, relief, excitement. Everything was going to be all right now.

The whole of Luke’s gospel is about the way in which the living God has planted, in Jesus, the seed of that long-awaited hope in the world. It begins with that tiny life in Mary’s womb. It continues with Jesus as a young adult planting seeds of hope around Galilee and Jerusalem. It climaxes with Jesus himself being placed in the dark tomb and rising again to launch God’s worldwide project of putting the world the right way up. That’s the story we are now invited to live inside and make our own. - NT Wright

Pray: As you read Luke with many other Christians this Lent, come with your hopes and longings, your awareness of the ways in which the world is still out of joint. You might begin, today, by thinking about some situations, whether in your own life or far away, where the world is not yet right. Hold them before God in prayer and patience. And then look for the signs of hope around you, the first stirrings of God’s new life. And give thanks to God for the way in which he is at work in the world today. There’s a long way to go. But the party begins here.

Act: Write a prayer to God explaining the habits, behaviors, and sins you want to die to this Lenten season.