I could be crazy but I'm pretty confident I've been to an Ash Wednesday service before as a child at least a couple of times. Props to my grandparents for being devote Catholics who I truly believe understood the cross and the amazing grace one can only receive through Christ. Tonight was definitely my first experience as an adult. It was beautiful. I loved so much about it. As I look back and reflect on a life full of hurt, pain and confusion caused by church I truly think the final blow is also what has allowed me to see the beauty of church for what it is. Leading sinful man and leading men who are sinful can make things incredibly complicated. Or rather causes us to make things complicated.
I don't have any great words to describe tonight other than solemn beauty. So I get why there has been struggle or strife over contemporary versus traditional services. Just music alone. Holy smokes some of the music tonight was the most beautiful music. What's funny is that the music is not front and center like in many places I've gone. There's not a "worship" time but rather the entire experience is worship. I really don't have the right words but I can see why blue hairs have scratched their heads and balked as rich music has been replaced by a sloppy wet kiss.
I can't understand how the church once was the Mecca of amazing artistic talent and now is the cheeseball capital. The painters, composers, sculptors, etc were God fearing men and their giftedness reflected an awesome Creator. What happened? Why is the church no longer the hub for beauty?
I've been wrapped up in the emotion of worship before but I've never had worship experiences where I'm enraptured but the beauty of it. I love music but wow 38 years later I feel like I'm experiencing it for the very first time.
Enough about hearing heavenly sounds, I truly dig the heart of the service too. Had a good lead up today reading the Mark 13 to the kids and discussing what Jesus meant by chopping off hands and gouging out eyes. One kiddo said both hands would need to be chopped off then. Bingo! That's exactly what one of the points Jesus was trying to make. All of us would have chopped off hands and feet and gouged out eyes. In our natural state we are sinful wrecks. Lent is this season of remembering who we truly are. It's not so that we can wallow in shame and guilt but it's rather so that we can acknowledge that apart from Christ not a single bit of good resides in us. If nothing good comes from me apart from Christ it's just all the more reason to boast in Christ Jesus.
It's so easy for me to grumble about my circumstances. I truly wanted to believe that A + B = C in God's economy. Remembering that I am but dust and one day I will return to the dust helps give me the proper perspective. God owes me nothing and yet He's granted me everything. So why do I grumble? Why do I complain? It's because I forget so easily. So thankful for this season. So thankful for grace and mercy and love. So thankful for the Lord's faithfulness to work all things together for His glory.
On another note, thankful for another great audition experience. I had the privilege of watching four of my six kids audition and it was pretty awesome. Even with some nerves on a couple they walked in with great confidence and did what they do best, they were who God created them to be. Some of them may resemble me but they most certainly possess their Dad's talent. Maybe just maybe I'm secretly hoping one will fall in love with the piano and play music like I heard tonight. Regardless thankful for a place for these kids to build confidence, be inspired to try new forms of art and opportunity to be salt and light.
I didn't even get to glitter ashes but I'll just say that some churches were adding glitter to the ashes that they used in services today. I'll just let that sit there.
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