Ash Wednesday calls us to confess that we are not God; that we are temporary and not eternal; that our plans and projects, our products and ideas, our buildings and arrangements are temporary. Moreover, since we are sinners, all that we think and build and do say and do is affected and stained, twisted and misshapen by sin.
In Ash Wednesday we remember, then, that we and all people and everything human stand together under the sign of God’s judgment. By Ash Wednesday we are called to repentance and renewal. Through Ash Wednesday I can come to have hope and joy because the truth that I am not God and stand under God’s judgment drives me to the deeper truth: the righteous God sent his Son to justify and save me, to set me free from the powers of sin and death, so that I might be his and serve him in eternal righteousness and joy.
So the first question we must ask ourselves is this: what in my life keeps me from confessing this truth and living this truth in faith? What holds me back from seeing everything—including myself--as under God’s judgment and in desperate need of grace? And what keeps me from letting go of everything temporary and sinful in order to lay hold of God’s promises and righteousness by faith?