ASH WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17 | 1 CORINTHIANS 1:20-25
We preach Christ crucified…Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:23-24
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season. The word Lent derives from a Middle English word that means “springtime.” But this doesn’t mean Lent is a celebration of the annual renewal of nature caused by the tilt of the world’s axis. No, Lent is a celebration of the renewal of human life caused by the grace of God.
I use the word celebration guardedly here, because Lent is not a joyful dance through a field of spring flowers. It is rather a season of solemn reflection and serious repentance that leads to spiritual renewal. It’s the time when we remember that such renewal depends on Christ crucified.
People outside the Christian faith may wonder how we can celebrate a gruesome death that happened 2,000 years ago. It does sound ghoulish, unless Paul is right in 1 Corinthians 1, where he says that Christ is “the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
As we focus today on the power and wisdom of God in the
cross of Christ, our goal should be not merely to explain those
mysterious ideas but also to apply the reality of God’s power and wisdom to our daily lives.
Even as the renewal of nature in spring depends on the tilt of the earth, so the renewal of our spiritual lives depends on the cross. During this Lenten season, we invite you to set aside time each day to reflect, repent, and focus on the wonders of the cross.
O crucified Christ, help me to experience the joy and peace of renewal that flows from your cross for my sake. Amen.
—WRITTEN BY STAN MAST