Will We Hear An Inconvenient God? An Ash Wednesday Devotion
Devotional Thought of the Day:
1 Jesus also told them other parables. He said, 2 “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. 3 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come! 4 “So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’ 5 But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. 6 Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them. 7 “The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. 8 And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. 9 Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ 10 So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. 13 Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:1-14 (NLT)
Last night I heard of a practice that scared me, actually, it terrified me.
A pastor in a liturgical denomination was going to stand outside the post office today. As people drove through to drop off their mail, they were going to offer to put ashes on their forehead, in recognition of Ash Wednesday.
Several other situations have made me wonder whether we have lost the idea of mourning over the sins of the world and our sin. Do we grieve anymore? Does the idea of sin sicken our souls? Has sin so ensnared us, that we don’t even recognize its existence?
I think we see this in the parable above. People have gotten so caught up in their lives that will not tolerate being inconvenienced. Even for something so great as a feast, the feast of their king celebrating the love between His Son, and the Bride for which He gave everything.
No, no time. Look at their excuses! Do they sound familiar?
Do we grieve over missing a church service or a Bible study? Do we grieve when we overlooked someone in need, knowing we could have, we should have helped? Do we grieve when someone near us is broken and shattered by sin? Do we grieve when there are people whose lives are shattered by addiction, or when marriages collapse do to unfaithfulness, or abuse? Do we grieve with the lady, who convinced abortion is an acceptable option, later is haunted by what she has done? Do we grieve over the damage cause by gossip, or lieing?
Do we grieve over sin?
Or is it to inconvenient? Do we want a God who serves at our beck and call? Instead of ashes signifying repentance and contrition, do we proudly wear ashes on our forehead, assured that people will identify us as those who are faithful?
Will we grieve over sin, only if we don’t have to be inconvenieced, or if it is the sin in Libya or the Ukraine, and as long as it isn’t inconvenient? As long as it isn’t our sin?
Here is the reason this concerns me so….
If we don’t grieve, how can we be comforted in our grief? If we don’t mourn, how can God dry those tears? If we aren’t willing to be inconvenienced, how will we know He is there when we need Him? If we don’t confess our sins, our brokenness, how can we receive the freedom and relief that comes when Our Father’s words are spoken, “My beloved child, rise, you are forgiven…..”
Take the time to grieve… may those ashes be of repentance. Take the time, even if inconvenient to hear and know the love of God for you! And hear from God, something well worth the inconvenience!
(1)) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 3474-3477). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.