Ash Wednesday Meditation

2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10 New Living Translation (NLT)

5: 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors;
God is making his appeal through us.
We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

6 As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it.

2 For God says,
“At just the right time, I heard you.
On the day of salvation, I helped you.”

Indeed, the “right time” is now.
Today is the day of salvation.

Paul’s Hardships

We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry.

4 In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.

5 We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food.

6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love.

7 We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.

8 We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors.

9 We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed.

10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.

Meditation: We own nothing, and yet we have everything.

Thomas Edison invented the microphone, the phonograph,
the incandescent light, the storage battery, talking movies,
and more than 1000 other things.

By December 1914 he had worked for 10 years on a storage battery. This had greatly strained his finances.
One evening spontaneous combustion ignited a
fire in the film room.

Within minutes all the packing compounds, celluloid for records and film, and other flammable goods were in engulfed in flames.

Fire companies from eight surrounding towns arrived,
but the heat was so intense and the water pressure in the nearby hydrants was so low that the attempt to douse the flames was futile.

Everything was destroyed.
Edison was 67 years old.
All his assets went up in flames—the damage exceeded two million dollars, but the buildings were only insured for $238,000 because they were made of concrete and thought to be fireproof.
Edison’s 24 year old son, Charles, searched frantically for his father. He finally found him, calmly watching the fire, his face glowing in the reflection,
his white hair blowing in the wind.

“My heart ached for him,” said Charles.
“He was 67–no longer a young man–and everything was going up in flames. When he saw me, he shouted,
‘Charles, where’s your mother?’

When I told him I didn’t know, he said, ‘Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives.'”

The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said,
“There is great value in disaster.
All our mistakes are burned up.
Thank God we can start anew.”
Three weeks after the fire, Edison managed to
deliver the first phonograph.

Life is full of mistakes—it’s messy—there are accidents—
there are times when you think you can’t go on—sometimes there are losses so great you don’t want to go on.

There are times when all you see is the desolate wilderness—the scorched ground—nothing but black earth—ashes all around from all the things that have burnt up—

We stand by—stunned—scarred by flames invisible to everyone
else —

We wear those ashes everyday—and tonight we will wear
them where others can see — because we all carry around
those ashes of lost life….ashes of ruin.

We are constantly reminded of things that don’t last—
of the danger of not living simply—and of our immortality.

But for us who are in Christ—these ashes become
the very ashes of resurrection—
we can honestly say—we own nothing,
and yet we have everything!!
We own nothing, and yet we have everything.

We need to be like the sequoia trees that need fire in order for their
seed pods to open—
At Yosemite National Park fires are set purposely so that the cones will open — and they let natural fires burn because it does not destroy them—
The seeds spill into the dark soil of ruin and regenerate—
new life can begin—and this is true of us too who have
faith in Christ—who know the power of grace—who
know resurrection comes after death.

And resurrection is the greater truth. Amen