The Compassionate Love of God
Ash Wednesday always feels like a wake up call. It reminds us of how far we have slipped in our intention to live as people of God, how far we have moved from the values of the Kingdom that we're called to make a reality. This year, watching as war breaks out in Europe, that wake-up call seems even more urgent than usual. It makes the words of the Prophet Joel that we heard at our service seem particularly relevant.
"Now, now — it is the Lord who speaks — come back to me with all your heart, fasting, weeping, mourning. Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn, turn to the Lord your God again, for God is all tenderness and compassion..."
His words seem to sum up both what we are going through and what we need to do to about it. Our world once again seems full of suffering. Everywhere we look we discover the heartbreak that is always part of war. The suffering already seems endless and insurmountable. We can very quickly begin to feel hopeless, numbed by the pain and unable to act.
In these circumstances it seems to me that our first and most important step is to turn back to God with our broken hearts and broken lives, seeking compassion and forgiveness for ourselves and for one another. Maybe then, knowing ourselves ourselves the recipients of God's healing compassion we will be able to find ways of sharing that compassionate love with all who are broken hearted today.
As we start our journey through Lent what heartbreak are you being called to bring into the compassionate love of God?
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