Lent begins with Ash Wednesday which is March 1st this year.  We will gather for worship at 6:30 PM which will include the imposition of ashes.  Our foreheads are marked with the cross of Christ and we hear the words, “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”  We walk for the 40 days of Lent aware of our mortality and looking to Jesus for the hope of life.  We remember and reflect on his great gift of grace as he died on the cross to remove our sin and to defeat our greatest enemy — death.

For me, the Ash Wednesday service is one of the most moving of the church year.  I have the privilege of meeting so many of you at the altar as we come forward.  I am struck by the depth and breadth of Jesus’ gift of grace.  For as we come, we are young and old from babes in arms to those in their 90’s.  We are well off, solidly middle class, and some maybe struggling pay check to pay check.  We are holding on to joys and carrying burdens and sorrows.  We are tall and short, slender and thick, brown eyed and blue.  We are one body in Christ Jesus — held together by grace.  And all of us come with nothing in our hands to remember that we are dust and to dust we shall return.  But we also come on this night to receive God’s blessing and gift of grace in bread and wine.  Our empty hands are filled with the promise of life.

Our Lenten journey this year will walk us through Luther’s Small Catechism.  In that little teaching gem we come to know God’s gift of grace and his call to serve our neighbors as we respond to his gift.  May your Lenten journey be fruitful as we seek to grow in the gift of grace each day.

Blessings on your journey.  Pastor Siri