Today I was going through the check out stand at Wal Mart. The nice lady who was ringing me up had a black, messy cross on her forehead. I saw a mom and dad with their kids walk by with the same crosses on their foreheads. Never being Catholic, I have never seen or participated in the Ash Wednesday ceremonies, or even Lent, for that matter. Now, there is a part of me that is thankful that I am not under “religion” but instead am in relationship, but there is a part of me that felt a desire to be a part of this obviously special day. What would it be like to walk around with a cross of ash on my forehead? How would it change my thoughts and behaviors through the day? How would it change how others saw me? Would the outer representation translate into a heart change?
This reminds of me a conversation I had recently with my friends Kate and Chris. We were talking about how we have forgotten righteousness and justified it through relationship. We think since we have freedom in our relationship with Christ that there is now no need for religion pushing righteousness on us. I am guilty of seeing righteousness the same as religion, finding it dogmatic and bringing only condemnation. So instead we use relationship to justify sin and habitual downfalls, knowing that no sin can separate us from Christ, that His love will always be there for us. I don’t want that in my life. I want the relationship to lead to righteousness. I want to spend time with my Savior, with my friend, and walk away with a cross of ash on the forehead of my heart in remembrance to carry righteousness with me everywhere I go.
I pray my heart is always in search for Christ, and always transformed in righteousness.