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Thursday, March 2, 2017

03012017 - Ash Wednesday - "Our Father Who Art in Heaven"

March 1, 2017
“Our Father Who Art in Heaven”
Tonight we gather as the body of Christ with Ashes about to be placed on our foreheads.  We remind ourselves that from dust we came and to dust we shall return.  Yet, we are not just dust, within us resides the most powerful force in the universe.  This ‘force’ is none other than the breath of God “Our Father”.
During our Lenten season we will be delving into the perfect prayer that Jesus taught His disciples.  So it is very appropriate we begin focused upon “Our Father Who Art in Heaven”.  We find our connection and God’s Fingerprints in the “Our Father” the prayer Jesus taught, but also our confession of faith in Apostle’s, Nicene and Athanasian Creed.  Clearly the role of “Our Father” is not only to orient us to God “Our Father”, but for us to engage and understand we are not alone in this world no matter our location, position or experience.  “Our Father” began by putting His breath in our first parents, Adam and Eve and in each of us gathered here and all people.  For the ‘breath of God’ “Our Father” is Who gives us life.
Hence why tonight is so significant.  The breath we have from God “Our Father” is the same that we begin the Lord’s Prayer in saying, “Our Father Who art in heaven”.  For God Who resides in heaven gives us all things, the food we eat, the air we breathe, the clothes we wear, the jobs we have, the houses we live in, the food on our tables and even the life that courses through our veins.  All that we have is His.
But, why is this so significant for us today as we begin Lent?  Why should this give us pause?  Why should we consider how we live today?  Simply tonight as we respond to the fact of our mortality with the ash upon our forehead, we begin to understand that it is God’s Breath in us, and laying claim to God as “Our Father” in the prayer Jesus taught that we connect ourselves to God, not only as “Our Father”, but as our redeemer and especially our Savior.  For Jesus Christ Who taught this prayer, also taught us how He and we are fully dependent upon God “Our Father” for all things.
“Our Father” Who created not only the heavens and the earth, but all things, and Who gives us life, the Breath of Life is the same God “Our Father” Who gives us life eternal, through His Son, Jesus Christ.  For this season of Lent we enter tonight is as Martin Luther would say, is a time of introspection, but also thanks that “Our Father” didn’t just care for us to bring us into this world, but “Our Father” loves each and every one of us clearly and cares for us daily and looks forward to our being with Him in His Kingdom for eternity.  And this comes, only through the Cross of Calvary that we journey towards beginning tonight that bore the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
As Paul Gerhardt penned in the hymn we are about to sing, “This lamb is Christ, our greatest friend”, He comes to “free my [that is God’s] children” and we are not only the sheep of His pasture, but God’s precious gem.  Jesus Christ willingly went to Calvary and paid the price of His death for each and every one of us and this is why we have the breath of life from God “Our Father” in each and every one of us. 

May we as we contemplate the coming weeks of our exploration of the Lord’s Prayer, begin to understand the faith of the centurion and the grace offered each of us from “Our Father” in heaven.  For we are loved by God “Our Father” and we are His children through the sacrifice of His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.

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