Ash Wednesday


Gen 1:27  So God created mankind in his own image,     in the image of God he created them;     male and female he created them.

The promise of the Good News is not that we are divine, but that we can partake in the divine nature of God, our creator, when we partake in the communion meal with Jesus. Gen 1:27 states that we are the created being, not the divine being, but that God did not create us like other created beings, but gave us a sacred worth being in the likeness of God having a spirit, soul, and body beyond mere existence.

The incarnation of Christ (John 1:14) is not the glory of the flesh or the body or the affirmation of its goodness, rather the exaltation of Jesus divinity as one coming from God the Father. It was the emphasis that He came in our own bodily form - not as a angel, a spiritual being, but as mortal man. He stooped down to our level, and humbled Himself even though He is God.

God was not glorifying the goodness of the body or of humanity rather Jesus came down to our level, to the limitations and temptations of our carnality. If He could be holy and remained sinless even with a body so prone to simple temptations, there is hope for us.

As we reflect on Ash Wednesday where Jesus   was at His weakess being in the bodily form, and subject to pain, hunger and deprivation, yet He choose the 40 day fasting in the desert. Jesus went through the desert experience so that we need not go through ourselves alone.

Jesus was like us, but His divine spirit residing in a weak body sanctified it. The temptation that Jesus faced was the sin of bowing down to Satan when He was emptied of everything, His mortal body crying out in pain for food, yet His Spirit was strong and refused to submit to the temptations of Satan. Is having food, and wealth a sin - which was what Satan had offered! Satan didn't send any gay marriage to tempt Jesus!

The son of the Rev Billy Graham, the Rev Franklin Graham was quite adamant that Rick Santorum (a leading US presidential candidate for the republicans) was a Christian simply because of moral values. However, we are Christians not because of morality which is often subjective, but because of our identification with Jesus Christ physical death and resurrection. It is a stumbling block for many as they have compromised the question of eternal life by adding to Jesus the worship of Saints, Mary and the Pope as being co-redeemers with Jesus and a bridgehead between God and men. Which is a greater sin - gay marriage (if it was a sin at all) or making oneself of equal standing with Jesus.

The moral values treasured by Rick Santorum may appear immoral to many as he cuts taxes for the rich, reduce health care to the poor, neglect global warming, and insist that Gays be denied the basic right of marriage. The only morality I know of the bible is not bowing down to Satan for which some Christian people of faith have bowed down to the powers of this world. In Rome, the universal church owns 1/5 of the properties tax free. It is a far cry to the 2/3 of Europe which was once ruled by the church in the dark ages.

Rick Santorum has everything - power and wealth, but the true road to Christianity is to take on the sack cloth and embrace the divine in the desert of nothingness. Here is true Christianity, when offered fame, power and glory of the masses by any ill means, Jesus rejected the offer but returned to His humbled ways to be with those that society has rejected as immoral.

Jesus went through the fast not that we may follow the path of pennitence for a period of reflection and soul searching, but to declare victory for the Christ centered soul that we need not succumb to the temptations of power and glory. Much of life and humanity is about glory, an ever struggle for our mere humanity and carnal body of wants and needs for survival.

Ash Wednesday is about embracing the divinity of Christ, through the baptism of the Holy Spirit when Jesus came out of the desert to be annointed by God before the start of His ministry. If Christ had been able to flee and overcome the inherent temptations of our weak body of glory and wealth, surely we too can be overcomers.

The promise of the Good News is not that we are divine or that to the divine we shall return, but that in our mortal and weak bodies matters no more. For in Christ, we are forgiven, fall as we may over and over again. The power to overcome sin lies in the power of forgiveness and redemption in the Hope of  Eternal life. We are judged not on the basis of our morality but in the righteousness of Jesus for which Jesus invites us to partake and enter into His divinity.

Perhaps, President Obama is much more Christian that Rick Santorum would ever be. He first entered the church when his desire to help the poor and the outcasts took him to work closely with the people of faith to proclaim the love commandments of Jesus in action. His Christianity is not an exaltation of his own righteousness or morality but a demonstration of the love and compassion of Jesus.

Jesus invites us to a meal of bread and wine this Ash Wednesday not that we would ever remember those who toil hard to harvest the bread or the wine, but to remember the broken body of Jesus Christ, and His death signified by the blood of the Lamb. It is bread and wine no longer made by mortal hands but of the divine Himself. Jesus is asking us to consume Him because we can never succeed or come close to being of the divine by our own strenghts or morality.

Therefore, Ash Wednesday is a reflection of our mere humanity and carnality not that we dwell on a sin consciousness but to remember that Christ has gone before us into the deserts of life and found living waters in the desert being baptised by the Holy Spirit as He made the choice to choose God instead of Satan - to choose God instead of choosing self.

We all have a choice this Ash Wednesday for good or for evil, to love or to cause Harm, to lift up or to tear down, to judge and condemn others or to give grace. But ultimately, our tendency to sin will prevail, so the only choice left is to embrace the sinless divine in Christ who emerged victorious through the 40 days of temptation and suffering. In Christ we have already overcome and need not go through the desert ourselves for which we would never ever truly succeed.

In our mere humanity, after starving in the desert, naked, and tired for 40 days, who wouldn't want to receive all the power and glory that Satan had to offer to be the ruler of a super power on earth. However, our glory on earth will only  be temporary and the doors to heaven shut for we cannot have both masters of God and money. Christ is the answer and not our weak body so subjected to temptation.

Heaven awaits us and no temporal earthly wealth and glory could ever replace the eternity of heaven and return to God from whence Jesus came from and had returned to - in preparation for our return Home to heaven. Ultimately, our welcome Home is in heaven if we were indeed truly of Christ and not an earthly kingdom however much we declare "in God we trust".

During this Ash Wednesday, let us look unto Jesus, for he bidst to walk along with us through this empty desert of life which for many is far longer than 40 days for which there is no end to our misery, pain and suffering. At the end of this life, when we walk with God, we no longer be found walking, but resting in Jesus arms in the heavenly kingdom above. May the Hope of glory fills our hearts and mind through our pilgrim journey in his earthly desert where some have many but most go hungry.

Today, as we remember Ash Wednesday in our journey through the desert, may the Lord feed us with His bread and His wine that we may live again and live forevermore. The Lord Jesus invites us to feast at His table in our desert journey for He will bring us onward to rest beside still waters of peace and hope where we need not walk anymore but rest in His grace, love and mercy.

God bless and be with you, now and forever in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.


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