Ash Wednesday and Lent

I am not much of a “post-er” on this group for many reasons, including time and not being much of a social media person. But, I deeply enjoy reading the discussions here and Carson’s essays and other devotional material, and find it very meaningful.
Anyway, Carson encouraged me to post this recent “conversation” with him to share with all of you. Please pardon the disjointedness of my ramblings.
Blessings in the Lord to all of you.
Roshini

As I was reflecting on Ash Wednesday being the same day as Valentine’s Day this year, I thought how appropriate it is. After all, Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the fulfillment of a great love story, which started with the Incarnation and culminates with the Resurrection.

But, unlike human love stories, this Agape story has no end…the love story continues until God completes his redemptive work and there is a new heaven and new earth.

How fortunate that by God’s grace, we are part of this love story.

From the beginning of time, man has tried to reach God, to know God, all with his own agenda and timing. Man has always tried to know God, as many religions and cultures can attest to. The difference between every other religion and Christianity is that it is not about a distant God watching man’s puny efforts to scale the ladder to reach Him, but about a God, full of compassion, love and mercy who comes down the ladder and lifts the puny man into His arms. Could we ever find a more complete love than this?

It is marvelous thing to contemplate.

Another thing that came to mind before and after Grand Rounds today, is how we celebrate knowledge, success, achievement but what do we have that was not given us…intellect, talent, gifts are all from God. Sometimes, I want to say to all these high-achievers and talented people - we are literally like the grass in the field or flowers in the meadow, here today and gone tomorrow.

I love this poem by the Rev. C T Studd who was a missionary to India, among other places.

Only one life

Only One Life, Twill Soon Be Past

by C.T. Studd

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,

And to God’s holy will to cleave;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill.
living for self or in His will;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say, “Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

__ extra stanza __

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.

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Hey @roshini,

It’s kind of you to encourage so many through this format even as you already have so many demands on your time. I respect that and never want you to feel pressure to contribute here.

I am grateful you shared this very moving reflection with us.

As I wrote to you, it’s particularly meaningful because you have achieved so much, so it comes with additional credibility.

It’s not that you’re jealous of successful people and want to say it doesn’t matter. It’s that you’ve become the leader in elite institutions, and you still see that we need so much more. We need the agape love of God.

The C.T. Studd poem energizes me today.

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Thank you for sharing such a heartfelt reflection and a beautiful poem!

I love this line that you wrote, it reminds me so much of Psalm 8:4-5

It is always so astounding and moving to see God’s great and steadfast love for us, even though we are so often unfaithful to Him. I love Hosea 2:14-23 because, after such a visceral recounting of Israel’s unfaithfulness, the description of God’s response is just so overwhelming, particularly Hos. 2:19-20. To see that love consummated through Christ’s death and resurrection and to be invited into that love story, is so wonderful beyond words.

While I certainly struggle in practice, I long to live out these words from the poem in response to Him:

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There is a vision of wisdom and humility in what you have shared. At the moment I am reading a book by Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Discipleship, it’s called. One of the things he encourages disciples is “to be with God before we do for God.”

Your post reminds me this is the essence of love- seeking to be WITH your beloved. That we would seek Him with our whole heart, Yes!! Thanks for the encouragement.

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