Losing my grip

YOUNG WOMAN RECEIVES MARK OF ASHESThis morning, I shared in our church’s Ash Wednesday service.  It’s only in recent years that I’ve come to appreciate its value.  It’s become more than that service when we paste ash crosses on each other, though we do – Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.  In “Sojourners” I’ve just read a reflection from Michaela Bruzzese, called “Losing Our Grip.”

We live in an addictive society, and we need to allow the spirit of freedom to pry us free from its grip. We all long for security and happiness, and we need to free ourselves from the idols that promise both but can deliver neither.” Jesuit Dean Brackley sums up the work of Lent: prying ourselves free from the false idols around us – or perhaps prying the false idols out of our hands! In the next four weeks, we will enter a process of cleansing; we will learn how to recognize and reject our false gods so that we will know Christ resurrected

Lent – and this article helps, directs me to discern where my true priorities are in life.  Who am I serving?  Who is God for me?   Who … what must I lose my grip on?  Folks like me are most comfortable when they are in control; my hands tight on the wheel … or is that the wheels that I steer in life.

Lent calls me to lose my grip … to open my hands … to bare myself before God … with the prayer as from Psalm 51: Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Lent … and especially this Ash Wednesday assures me, once again from Psalm 51: The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  Phewww!!!

Lent calls me further; having loosened that grip, to reach out with open hands, open heart and open mind to – in a sense – grip my hands afresh around the all-giving love that is Jesus.

Bruzzese says:

In the end, there is no other way to the resurrection but through the desert, through the cross. We must be able to strip away our fancy trappings and return to God as we came from God – naked, vulnerable, powerless.

May I have the open hands and loosened grip … as I journey with Christ to the cross … and beyond to the resurrection life he promises.  It’s the sort of life, the Brian Wren/David Haas song: Dust and Ashes Touch Our Face brings to mind:


Dust and ashes choke our tongue

in the wasteland of depression.

Holy Spirit, come,

walk with us tomorrow,

through all gloom and grieving

to the paths of resurrection.

Take us by the hand and lead us,

lead us through the desert sands,

bring us living water,

Holy Spirit, come.


Brian Wren

 Words Copyright © 1989 by Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL (www.hopepublishing.com) for the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand; and Stainer & Bell Limited, London, England, (www.stainer.co.uk) for all other territories.

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