Word for Today: Ashes
Definition: The word ashes is a word for the remains after a fire. The grey-white or black powder left behind after burning. The mineral residue, the "particulate matter" ejected by volcanic eruption. Ashes means ruins, the remains after cremation.
Ashes, noun. A word for the fire that consumes. We talk, talk, talk all the time about being "on fire" with the Spirit, or being "on fire" for God. And the feeling of love, devotion, chasing after God is true and good. But the purifying fire consumes and leaves traces of ashes. That attitude of envy? Ashes. The grip of pride on your heart? Ashes. When we invite the flame of God to enter and purify us, it means that we will see attitudes, ideas, feelings - reduced to ashes, to particles, to mineral residue. Everything we wanted to keep safely tucked in our pockets, those convenient excuses ("I'm only cranky because I had a bad day... I was only joking... I said that because I was tired... I forgot you because...) - if we submit ourselves to becoming ashes, those things will catch fire.
Ashes, noun. A word that forces my eyes upwards to look in the mirror honestly. How much do I choose not to see about myself that needs to change? How much do I cover in shadows? For Lent this year I am, in addition to other things, giving up makeup. That means when I look in the mirror it is only my eyes that look back, only that splash of freckles (unaided by blush or bronzer), only that hint of dimples that I say all too often I wish I didn't have. I hear ashes and I think, Ash Wednesday is the invitation to self-examination. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of seeing honestly.
|(Photo Credit: Mandie Sodoma)|
Ashes, noun. A new heart is being forged. I'm moldable as the white iron in the leaping flames of the blacksmith's fire, and He wants to do beautiful work. I am being made new, this Lent and beyond, in each moment if I can hold my hands open and say yes Father, yes to the molding, yes to the Grace of Your flames, to the promise of the new heart.
|(Photo credit: Mandie Sodoma)|
I read in a devotional the other day, this question.