Ash Wednesday Liturgy
Reflection from the Ash Wednesday Liturgy
The words of Jesus that we heard in the Ash Wednesday liturgy are words to encourage us, teachings to hold onto when we feel weak, teachings that make us strong when we have choices to make and teachings to guide us. Most importantly Jesus’ words are the way to find real joy and happiness.
Sometimes our hearts wonder and when this happens God calls us gently back.
How can we do that?
What we learn from Jesus is that we need to get our priorities right. There are many things that can seem attractive and we can find ourselves drawn to them.
But Jesus reminds us to value those things that are truly important in life. Sometimes for one reason or another we put a lot of value on those things that don’t really matter and we end up putting a lot of energy into trying to get them. Around us, there are lots of voices telling us what we need and how we should act although not all those voices lead us the right way.
Jesus reminds us that what we love and treasure will get our attention and our time. So we need to make sure that what we love and value are those things that make us better people, those things that help others and make our world a more loving place, a kind place, a just place.
These are a few of the ways we can do that:
We are reminded to not always find fault in others – why do you see the spec in the other persons eye? Jesus asks us .
Is that something I do?
Yes, everyone has their faults and we do too. Jesus reminds us of that. And in spite of that, he asks us to look lovingly at others – with understanding and compassion, just as he looks at us.
Another really important teaching is about how to respond to what is done to us. We are asked not to respond to bad treatment by treating others in that same way. Jesus asks us to be people who break that cycle of hurt and violence – if we are spoken to badly, don’t do it back. If we are hurt by someone, don’t hurt them back. If we are gossiped about or left out – don’t do the same to others.
Is there some behaviour of mine that I need to change? Someone I need to reach out and say sorry to?
And then there is the teaching about generosity: we are asked to be generous, giving what we can to those in need. Jesus is the image of going the extra mile. He points out to us that it is good to go beyond what is just convenient for us – we are asked to put ourselves out, makes sacrifices, give up something so that others may live better. Don’t just give what we don’t need. Give in a way that really respects the person we are giving to.
When Project Compassion was launched last week at assembly we were challenged to think about giving, challenged to do more this year, to go further. There are people who need us. And we can give them hope. People whose names and faces we don’t know, people we almost certainly may never meet, people who are living in poverty and injustice. Our Project Compassion theme is love your neighbour – think about ways you can do that.
This year during Lent we will also have a focus on our environment – our world is a holy gift, a gift of God – and we are called to treat it that way. We also know that there are so many people suffering more and more as the years go by because of the way we, who are well-off, treat the environment. They are becoming poorer and poorer as we live comfortable lives in a throw-away society, buying and discarding, indulging and wasting. We are called to live beautifully in our fragile home, the Earth. Love those who are suffering – change our ways so that life can change for them.
So let’s make the most of Lent, take it on wholeheartedly. Let’s make school a place where we can see Lent happening every day, a place where we can see the joy of the risen Lord shining through us.
Written by Ms Kerry McCullough, Liturgy and Spirituality Coordinator
Words delivered by Marissa Hussein at the Ash Wednesday Liturgy