You are the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea. Psalm 65:5 (NASB) 

Jesus Christ is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. I John 2:2 

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent in the Christian calendar. We take time today to focus on our sins as we confess them to God and our mortality. Yesterday was Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, a day (actually the end of a string of days) with parties, and parades, decorations, and King cake to eat. Lots of green, and purple and gold and all those beads. One last fling before the austerity of Lent.  

Ashes are a sign of penitence in the Bible. Many people from Tamar, to Job, to the prophets sprinkled ashes on themselves, along with wearing sackcloth and fasting as signs of grief and penitence.  On Ash Wednesday we use the ashes from the palms on Palm Sunday and hear the words “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return.” We are reminded both of our sinfulness and death.   

We know as Christians that death is not the end, that there is forgiveness of sins. Not only did God create us, from dust, but He planned for our salvation. The Psalmist writes that God can be trusted, not just in one little area, but throughout the whole earth, to the farthest seas and lands. God created all of it, and all the people that inhabit the earth. Then in I John we read the same about Jesus – sent to atone for our sins. Again, not just one group of people, or those in part of the world, but absolutely everyone no matter their race, color, ethnicity, or gender. Our God is an awesome God, creator, sustainer and redeemer of all. He is not limited in what He can do or who He will save.  

Heavenly Father, you made each one of us with purpose and precision. Creator God, you called everything you had made, good. Then you sacrificed yourself for all of us. We trust your all-powerful, all-knowing presence. Help us to accept and not judge your children who do not look, think, or speak like we do. Thank you for your saving work sent to the whole world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.   

Chris Gabel