Monday, February 16, 2015

Wake up!

In just a couple of days the Christian Church will celebrate Ash Wednesday.
Image result for alarm
Ash Wednesday is the day in the Christian year that's most intentionally designed to make us check our spiritual alarms. It's the day we're reminded that we're all terminally ill with the disease of sin and mortality as we get marked by an ashen cross on our foreheads and hear the words, "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return." 

In a few short weeks we'll be reminded that God has provided us a cure for this disease made possible by Jesus the Great Physician, who died and rose again to wipe out sin and death. But if we want to access the full healing benefit of that future hope of resurrection, we need to pay close attention to the alarms that are going off in our sin-diseased lives right now.

The Ash Wednesday reading from the prophet Joel is full of such alarms, which makes the beeping and chirping of the hospital room sound tranquil by comparison. Joel is writing to the people of Judah in the wake of a devastating plague of locusts that has overrun the land, which, for the prophet, is a microcosm of the final judgment of God: the "day of the Lord."  The warning alarms to get ready for that coming day are shrill and require immediate attention.