PREPARING FOR ASH WEDNESDAY
This was a dual personality week - working on Transfiguration Sunday and the mountain high of Jesus dazzling and sparkling and recalling all those wonderful holy moments and encounters with God in my life and then transitioning to the solemn and somber Ash Wednesday where we encounter our mortality and sinfulness. From mountaintop to valley in seconds and hours.
I want to stay on the mountain but know I am called to serve in the valley.
I have made my list of items to bring for Ash Wednesday. I had been mulling over the idea of having a paper shredder and slips of paper where folks could write down and pray their sins and then send the paper through the shredder. A visual reminder that are sins are swallowed up, shredded, destroyed, gone in the grace and saving death of Jesus Christ.
When I went to big office store #1, shredders began at $50.00 to nearly $300.00. Way out of my price range. So, I let the idea go and planned a very simple, traditional service.
During the week, I worked on Lenten bookmarks - hoping folks will use them as they spend more time in scripture reading, meditation and prayer. I had to go to Basic Office Store to run copies off on card stock. I also wanted to pick up three more pens made from recycled water bottles. (Did you know that gel ink doesn't freeze like ball point pen ink? I was able to write with the one stored in my van to record mileage without any problem all winter long! Consider this a free tip of the day!!!)
As I headed to the checkout, what should my eye behold? An entire display stack of shredders for $19.99. It was serendipitious! God was calling me to go ahead and work with it. So, I returned to church aglow with the shredder in the back of the van.
On the drive back, it occurred to me that I would need to have some scripture, directions, prayer and assurance of forgiveness, besides slips of paper and pens & pencils. So, I wagged my finger at God, and said, "You are a sly One! Just when I gave up the whole idea, You present it and tell me to run with it. Only I haven't worked it all out! Thanks, a bunch, Lord!"
I have learned to pay attention to such moments. They don't happen by mere chance and God and God's Holy Spirit have been behind them all, directing me, leading me, teaching me. They are wonderful grace-filled moments, mountaintop moments of a more mundane nature, but nonetheless, an ordinary thing made alive with possibility. Who would ever think a shredder could have such a holy use? God takes the simple, ordinary, mundane thing and transform it into something more and greater or a way to point to God's Own Self.
It humbles me every time. And amazes me every time.