February 27, 2020

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. That meant we were in overdrive.

With two separate locations for Drive-by Ashes, the morning Children’s Chapel, the regular Chapel Service, church vans driving all over the Temple/Belton area picking up children, a worship service for the afternoon Children’s Programming, the Scouts preparing the church-wide dinner, and the large evening Ash Wednesday Service, we had pretty much done it all.

While Pastor Brian and his crew handled the Drive-By Ashes at the Valet Cleaners on 57th Street, Pastor Kit, Barbara, Burt, and I were stationed in the church parking lot adjacent to Adams Avenue. It was a breathtakingly cold and blessed time.

As one car after another pulled through our parking lot, I saw some of the same people who came last year, met new ones, and saw members of our congregation.

As one car pulled up, I thought to myself, “I know that car.” Sure enough, I did. It was Laura.

As she rolled down her window I realized I didn’t have near enough ashes to make an adequate mark of repentance on Laura’s forehead for all her sins. Then I realized there wasn’t enough ashes in all of Texas to even get close. I decided honesty was the best course of action.

I said, “Laura, I’m sorry but I don’t have enough ashes to cover your sins.” At the same moment, I saw a smudge on her forehead. She said, “That’s okay. I stopped by Pastor Brian’s location and they took care of me.”

While I did see a whole lot of ash on Laura’s head, again, this was Laura. The mark of the cross needed to be bigger than her forehead – much bigger, I’m talking huge. This got me thinking.

While Laura is in a category all by herself, I’m pretty much up there too. In fact, just like Laura, there is not enough ash in the world to be true sign of repentance for my innumerable sins.

So if you find yourself in my category, or even worse, Laura’s, just know God loves you more than life itself, and would rather die than live without you. God can handle your sins and make you clean and whole once again. All you have to do is let him.

This is what Paul meant by telling Timothy: “This saying is reliable and deserves full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I’m the biggest sinner of all. But this is why I was shown mercy, so that Christ Jesus could show his endless patience to me first of all. So I’m an example for those who are going to believe in him for eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:15-16 CEB)

So whatever your sins, turn away, ask God for forgiveness and live the life that God created you to live.

Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, I confess that I make self-centered choices instead of God-centered choices. Please forgive me. Make me whole and complete. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Just remember, if God can forgive me and even Laura, then you are a piece of cake. No matter what you’ve done, said, or thought, God is ready, willing, and happy to forgive. It is the only way to real life. God wants that for you.

I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.
Tom Robbins