• Lloyd Bruce

Musings, On Ashes and the Lenten Journey: February 28, 2022

On Wednesday March 2nd at 6:30PM after yet another 2 months of being unable to gather in-person we will have the opportunity to gather to have the sign of the cross marked on our foreheads with ashes. Why ashes? Why on the forehead?


Traditionally the ashes are a sign of repentance - made by mixing oil with the burnt palm branches from the year before, they seek to symbolically take us back to the place of repentance and renewal.


Some say that the practice is rooted in an ancient text from the Book of Daniel, “I turned to the Lord God, to seek help, in prayer and petition, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.” (Daniel 9:3).


Why the forehead, perhaps as a way to put our faith visibly before others - and before ourselves when we gaze in a mirror? Imagine the conversations that cross on your forehead could start?


Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Our theme for Lent this year is: Full to the Brim. Have you ever filled a glass full to the brim? I used to do that all the time as a child. I would fill my glass as full as I could with chocolate milk – so full that I would have to bend down to the counter and slurp some from the top of the glass before I tried to carry it to the table.


The scripture stories we will hear over the course of the Lenten season filled with parables and promises of God’s abundant and expansive grace. Jesus as a mother hen, a prodigal son welcomed home, a fig tree nurtured with care and hope, precious oil poured out lovingly and freely, stones shouting out with praise —these sacred texts are brimming with a gospel of grace. We’ve done nothing to deserve or earn this grace, and yet, like water, it spills over.


Full to the Brim is an invitation—into a radically different Lent, into a full life. It’s an invitation to be authentically who you are, to counter scarcity and injustice at every turn, to pour

out even more grace wherever it is needed. It disrupts the scarcity mentality that capitalism, oppression, or hierarchy can plant inside of us. When we allow ourselves to be filled to the brim with God’s lavish love, that love spills over. It reaches beyond ourselves; like water, it rushes and flows, touching everything in its path.


I invite you to join in the journey! Start tomorrow with Shrove/Pancake Tuesday. Join others in marking Ash Wednesday, either in-person or on Facebook Live at 6:30PM, Use the resources we have compiled and walk with us each Sunday as we ponder the expansiveness of God's love: a love that Full to the Brim!


Faithfully,

Lloyd


Looking Ahead

Today I am in the office until 3PM engaged in writing and booking future visits in between meetings. Tuesday will be more of the same but will include gathering with the Preacher's Help Group via Zoom at 10:30AM and the final gathering of a Lenten Retreat Group on Tuesday evening.


I'll be the office again on Wednesday morning but will have to run home in the afternoon to take delivery of a new fridge... and then back to the Church later in the afternoon to set up for the Ash Wednesday Gathering which will begin at 6:30PM (in-person and via Facebook Live) followed by the Grounding Meeting of the Sackville United Church Executive.


On Thursday I'll be working from home as I put the final touches on the liturgy for Sunday and write the reflection.


Friday and Saturday will be days off and on Sunday (I am so excited!) we will be back in-person!!!!


Our Sunday's Gathering to begin Lent will include communion. If you are taking part via Facebook Live please have some bread and juice or wine nearby so you can participate fully.


At the conclusion of our Sunday Gathering we will shift into meeting mode for our 2021 Annual Meeting. Jennie will be sending the link to the Annual Report Booklet tomorrow. You can participate in the Annual Meeting in-person or via Zoom using this link. Jennie will include it again when she sends the link to the Annual Report.

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