“Ashes now but the flame’s coming”
by Pastor Robert Warren
Out my window on this cold winter’s day in February trees are bare, plants are brown with last year’s growth lying shriveled on the ground, everything is dormant. It looks rather bleak, dead, lifeless. But with a look at the calendar for next month I notice that Spring is coming. March 20. And I know that around that time new leaves will be sprouting, plants will be putting on new growth, and the annual renewal of the outdoors will blow us away with blooms and freshness.
For our hemisphere of the world, what an appropriate time for the Easter season! Beginning with Ash Wednesday (which was last Wednesday), Christians begin preparing for Spiritual Spring as we look forward to the blessedness of Easter.
With Ash Wednesday we begin at the appropriate place. Ashes are used in scripture as a sign of penitence, acknowledgement of our earthiness, and humility. In the physical world they are the remnant of a fire that once was but the fuel source has been used up leaving only the ash behind.
This, too, is an appropriate symbol for the Easter season. In reflecting upon our ashiness, we are preparing to receive anew the flame of life from Easter and then on to the fire of Pentecost.
But unlike the natural world there is something for us to do to experience Spiritual Spring. In the natural world all we have to do is wait and watch and at the appropriate time we will know Spring has Sprung!
Not so with spiritual things. One cannot just wait and watch. The key to experiencing this Spiritual Spring of Easter is in the preparation. Looking within, searching our hearts and God’s Word, repenting of that which keeps us from a clear saving relationship with Him, and perhaps even a bit of self-sacrifice—giving something up as a sign of our sincerity. Then believing in the power of Spring!
If God can cause an old dry tree to have life-giving sap begin to flow and leaves to bud out; and if God can give life to the dead body of His Son who was crucified; then surely God can restore fire to the ashes of our lives! And He can take you and me from penitence to praise to power!
Feel like your life is in the dead of winter? Spiritual Spring is coming! Feel like your life is reduced to the ashiness of doubt and regret? Take heart, the flame is Easter is coming!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Did I mention Easter is March 31 this year? Don’t miss it.