Advertisement

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

The Eucharist Diet: On Ash Wednesday

February 18, 2010

Day 48

Weight: 197 lbs

Weight lost: -9 lbs

 

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” Fire makes ashes. And how do we fight fire? With… water.

Specifically we fight fire with the waters of baptism. Fire burns and leaves behind only ashes and dust. But water cleanses and brings life and fresh new day.

Advertisement

I’ve held in my hands the ashes of a good man. Mr. Smith was a friend of mine. He was kind to his neighbors and faithful to his employers. But Mr. Smith is no longer with us. He died, and his body fell to ashes put in a box. This happens to people. The Psalmist says it this way, “All flesh is like grass here today, gone tomorrow.”  “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. From dust you came, to dust you will return.” Mr. Smith burned down, and burned out.    

Someday, this will be me, and you as well. Because just like Mr. Smith was, you and I are – on fire. Yes, the calories of the food I’ve eaten are burning as fuel units in me at this very moment.  I can feel the heat coming through my skin. Yet when I look at your hands I see another reality. My body is mostly water, water that is on fire. Take out the water of life and what’s left? Ashes and dust. In the end I will extinguish myself. 

Advertisement

Today is Ash Wednesday. The day we remember that life is a burnout.  And so begins Lent. On the Church calendar (since the 6th century) Lent launches the 40 day grind toward Easter, the via de La Rosa – the way of the cross. It’s a time to reflect on our lives, examine our hearts for sin, and to know there is no remedy for death, except the remedy of death – his and ours in him.  All our efforts, our portfolios, our self-improvements, our best intentions come to this…  And they must.  It’s either the cross, or this dustier end. 

Advertisement

Because we all die, one way or the other.  Either by fire, or by water… which is really a kind of holy fire.  The water of Baptism, coming into Jesus as he dies, is a kind of fire. 

God is fire, a holy fire. Moses found a fire that didn’t consume the bush. Abraham encountered God and he said: “I am nothing but dust and ashes.”  Like Isaiah, when he saw God: “Wow, I’m history.” To see God’s perfection is to realize, we are dust. 

Advertisement

Over the next 6 weeks we are going to face these brutal facts. Lent is our time to look into the pit and see the truth and tell the truth, to deliberate deliberately about the problem, the bad news, the dust and ashes. As Paul says, “The more I try to do what I want to do, the more I do what I do not want to do… Oh wretched man that I am…” I’m prone to pride, envy, anger, greed, sloth, lust, and gluttony. I sin, and I admit it. “Seven Deadly Syndromes…” 

But my issue isn’t behavioral. It’s a condition. I’m not a sinner because I sin, I sin because I’m a sinner. The matter is organic in me, an unnatural condition that has become naturalized for me.

Advertisement

But God’s fire is water that dowses our burnout flame – normal life, bios, doomed to snuff.  This is the miracle of Baptism. Death-burial-resurrection. We are re-hydrated with a new fire. The Holy Spirit burns a new kind of life in our bones – eternal life… that never consumes… Fire for fire, through water… that’s turned to wine…

As I examine myself to see the different expressions of sin, I can then experience a countering expression of God’s grace in Christ which forgives, cleanses, and breaks the power of sins, and of Sin itself.

Advertisement

“God, you created me to be holy and eternal and partnered with you forever. But I have fallen from that intention. I have failed. I have sinned, in thought and word and deed, in what I have done and in what I have not done. I am proud, and lustful, and self centered. I sin. I sin because Sin is in me. But today I admit this. I do not fool myself into thinking I can better myself by my own efforts. I need a deeper more serious remedy. I need you and your grace. I need to die in order to live. And you have provided the way for this to be. I trust in Jesus now, Jesus who has paid the price for my sin. I confess specifically my sins, and acknowledge the Sin that inclines me to my own destruction. As I confess this I take you at your word: that you forgive and cleanse me. In jesus.”

  • http://fanscarolled.blogspot.com Shanna Landry

    Wow I am honestly the first reply to your amazing writing?!

  • http://www.marimethod.com/burn-belly-fat/lose-belly-fat-with-these-5-simple-tips/ How To Burn Belly Fat

    Great Article!
    Yeah, I agree. As Christ believers, we should take fasting during ash wednesday and if possible do abstinence of the foods you really crave.
    But with regards to diet, it’s a day-to-day6 discipline!
    Eat healthy foods and stay healthy all the time!

  • http://absoluteacaireview.com Absolute Acai

    Calorie count is best way to lose weight but it’s not possible to count calorie everyday for me.
    I am a traveler and can’t manage my eating habits ,do you have some good tips for me.

Previous Posts

A Prayer for Protection Within Families and Among Friends
Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders, but the real danger is wickedness within the city… It is not an enemy who taunts me— I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me— I could have hidden from ...

posted 11:15:10am May. 02, 2016 | read full post »

A Prayer to Release Your Anxiety to God
Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. (Psalm 55:22) Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. (1 Peter 5:7) Anxiety and stress bear down hard on our bodies causing all kinds of potential health ...

posted 7:26:12am Apr. 28, 2016 | read full post »

A Prayer to Honor Our Parents
You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy. Each of you must show great respect for your mother and father…I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:2b,3) Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the ...

posted 11:48:01am Apr. 25, 2016 | read full post »

A Prayer for the Prodigal
"Return to me," says the LORD of hosts, "and I will return to you." (Zechariah 1:3) Father, Thank you for loving the prodigals. Thank you for your willingness to allow them to make the first move towards relationship with you once ...

posted 9:37:34am Apr. 25, 2016 | read full post »

An Olive Tree Prayer
But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love. (Psalm 52:8) What’s it like to be an olive tree? David compared himself to one. We don’t have olive trees in our region, so I had to ...

posted 11:08:10am Apr. 21, 2016 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.