Ashes … the stuff of beginnings … the stuff of endings. We receive a cross of ashes on our foreheads. We hear the ancient reminder-we are dust and to dust we return. Still we dare to continue on our journey of faith.`
The prophet Joel give us the message from the Lord “return to me with your whole heart.” The words “Return to me” is an invitation to all to leave behind practices that have taken us away from the path God has planned for us through the sufferings of His Son.
Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment. Perhaps he will again relent
and leave behind him a blessing,
proclaim a fast, call an assembly;
Gather the people, notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders, gather the children
and the infants at the breast;
And say, “Spare, O LORD, your people …
Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land
and took pity on his people.