Ash Wednesday prayer

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer

we each have our part

Scot McKnight in his great new book, One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow, reminds us well how we each have our part in God’s work in Jesus. We often want to compare ourselves with others or with another, so that we can think that our work is insignificant. But no work of God is insignificant, because God is in it. And if God is in our work, then we need to do it with joy.

We can also learn to fully appreciate and simply enjoy God’s work through others. Their work in and with God–amazingly God does call human servants co-workers with him, or those who work together with him–cannot be duplicated by anyone. Nor can anyone duplicate the unique work God has for each of us together with him.

The human element in this work always enters, so that only what is of God is infallible. As we’re told in scripture, we have this treasure in jars of clay, so that the glory is of God, and not of ourselves. We are cracked and we’re ever learning to more and more conform in our living to the image of God through Christ. But in the most simple and fallible of us, who sincerely in love are endeavoring to walk with the Lord, and even in spite of ourselves, God’s glory is often made known, and all the more when our weakness is evident.

This is all to be part of a harmonious whole. We need to learn how to let each one have their part, so that we eventually blend together into a community of God which is a work of his love by the Spirit through Jesus.

As we enter into the season of Lent, let us consider how we have sinned against each other through an individualism which may be good as in useful in worldly terms, but is not in accord with God’s kingdom working in Jesus. Let us not put down the work God has given us to do, but let us seek to grow and do better in that work. All the while learning to see and appreciate more and more the work God has given to each one. As we together take up our cross and follow Jesus, living out his life through his death, in and for the world.