Ash Wednesday 2011

Have mercy on me, God, in Your Kindness,
in Your Compassion blot out my offence.
O wash me more and more from my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin.
My offences truly I know them:
my sin is always before me.
Against You, You alone, have I sinned;
what is evil in Your Sight I have done.
A pure heart create for me, O God;
put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your Presence,
nor deprive me of Your Holy Spirit.
Give me again the joy of Your Help;
with a spirit of fervour sustain me.
O Lord, open my lips
and my mouth shall declare Your Praise.

Psalm 51 
translation selected for In Conversation with God volume 2 for Ash Wednesday

knocking on His Heart

Matthew 7:7-8

“Ask, and it will be given to you;
seek, and you will find;
knock, and it will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives,
and he who seeks finds,
and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

and then He turned to ME and said
“what, deep in your heart,
do you ask Me for?”

what are you seeking?…
and how are you seeking this?
are you seeking and asking?
…are you asking and seeking?

“are you knocking
on the door of My Heart?”

Knock on the door of My Heart now.
Seek Me.
Ask Me….now.

…as Peter,
hours after Jesus’ Crucifixion,
remembering His Words from
John 13:33-38

I remember how Jesus spoke to us before he was taken away and killed. He told us to love one another.
He told us that He was going away,
but we couldn’t come with Him.

I was so full of words, insisting
“I will follow You anywhere”
…so brave…all talk.

Hours later, we were lost sheep without a shepherd, fretting as if He hadn’t told us what was to happen.

Fully expecting that I would betray Him, He still said “you will follow later”.

In my thoughts and in my dreams,
He asks me again “will you lay down your life for Me?”

I have seen Him insulted, beaten, scourged and stumbling as He carried His Cross.  He looked at Me as they crucified Him…as I cowered from a distance.  My sins put Him there…still He returns mercy for my shame, my betrayal.  Deep in my own thoughts, my hesitation, my shame, I’m stirred back to the moment
as He asks me again.

 “Will you lay down your life for Me?” 
He awaits your response…answer Him.
 

Who touched My Garments?

Mk 5:25-34
…following from a distance…always following from a distance. 
If only I could touch the edge of His Robe…I know that’s all it would take.

There are always people around Him as He walks…walking beside Him, walking backwards in front of Him to ask a question, following closely behind Him, chasing after Him to catch every word. 

Sick of feeling sick, sick of its affect on my life
…how it affects everything I do.

In an instant, He could cure me!

I rush in to be part of the crowd and barely graze His Robe with my hand. 
He spins around. 
He asks
“Who touched My Garments?”

 …but He knows.
He asks to see if I have the courage to respond.

I speak up ~ more to explain His look to the others than to explain anything to Him.  He looks into my eyes, but I know He sees inside.  He knows that I touched Him.  We understand one another.

What do I want to tell Him?

Let the children come to Me…

Matthew 19:13-14

I remember…I was about five years old. 
My family had heard that Jesus was walking through our town,
so we dropped everything to see Him and to hear Him talk.

With every step He took, the crowds surrounded Him, pressing in on Him to hear His every Word.
He had a gentle, but strong voice.  He told stories and I was captivated by every word that He spoke.
At one point, He sat down on a big rock and the crowds gradually settled, sitting on the ground around Him.  My neighbors were there…entire families.  Some of them were pushing their kids in Jesus’ Direction, hoping that He would bless them.
Jesus’ Followers looked nervous as a few kids approached Him.

I stood about five feet away, wanting to get closer to Jesus too, but nervous that the Apostles would scold me too and push me back to my parents. 

All of a sudden, there was a clear path from me to Jesus. 
 Jesus told His followers “Let the children come!”
 and He held out his arms and He looked at me!
He called me by name ~ which surprised me ~ and He motioned with His Hand for me to approach Him. 
When the distance closed between us to about a foot or two, 
He reached out and pulled me to Him.
 I was completely enveloped in His Arms. 
His Robe covered my shabby clothes and my cheek rested on His Chest. 
He told me…

Who do you say I am?

Mt 16:13-17

Everyone was gathered around Jesus as He began to speak, asking “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  Many of the others spoke up, calling out various titles and names…John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, a prophet.  All fell silent as Peter spoke out.  He said “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God”. Jesus seemed pleased by Peter’s response.
Jesus looked thoughtful and then proceeded along the bumpy path, at the foot of Mount Hermon. 
The others followed, in clusters of 2 or 3 and continued to talk about who the crowds thought Jesus was.

I notice that Jesus is walking alone
and I run up to walk in step with Him. 
He stops and turns to me.

He calls me by name

and He says “Who do YOU
say I am?”
Looking deep into His Eyes, it seems like the world stops to listen
and I answer Him…