LENT Day 1 – Ash Wednesday

All come from dust, and to dust all return.  – Ecclesiastes 3:20

The pictures above are reader’s choices of their representation of freedom.  How does your view of freedom compare to theirs?  Similar?  Different?  It’s amazing how many different images we could come up with for the same word.  It’s pretty astonishing actually.

Today is Ash Wednesday.  Many will observe it with worship and/or fasting and/or prayer.  Many will receive the placement of ashes on their foreheads.  When the ashes are placed on the forehead a blessing will be given to them – such as the words from Ecclesiastes that I’ve put below the freedom photographs.

When I study the whole chapter of Ecclesiastes it speaks freedom to me.  As humans we have a freedom placed on us by God to be our own people.  We have the freedom to do what we want, say what we want, believe what we want, and make decisions the way we want.  We can decide to worship on Ash Wednesday or skip it.  We can decide to study God’s word or not.  We can decide to fast or pray or not.

Simply stated – There is a time for everything.  God  has done everything and made everything in its time.  But we don’t really know why or what more he is up to.  We can have the freedom then to worship and have faith in this God that is all knowing yet unknown.  Or we can have the freedom to live only of this world and make choices of our own accord.

Freedom.

It’s God’s gift.

I want to use my freedom to soar through the trees, explore this expansive world, run like a dog, and use my brain strong and wisely – all because of the love of my Father.  How will you use your freedom?

STUDY – Ecclesiastes 3 – The Message Bible
There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:
A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
 A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.
But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does?  I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do – busywork, mostly.  True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time – but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going.  I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life.  That’s it – eat, drink, and make the most of your job.  It’s God’s gift.
I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always.  No addition, no subtraction.  God’s done it and that’s it.  That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.
Whatever was, is.
Whatever will be, is.
That’s how it always is with God.
I took another good look at what’s going on:  The very place of judgement – corrupt!  The place of righteousness – corrupt!  I said to myself, “God will judge righteous and wicked.” There’s a right time for every thing, every deed – and there’s no getting around it.  I said to myself regarding the human race, “God’s testing the lot of us, showing us up as nothing but animals.”
Humans and animals come to the same end – humans die, animals die.  We all breathe the same air.  So there’s really no advantage in being human.  None.  Everything’s smoke.  We all end up in the same place – we all came from dust, we all end up as dust.  Nobody knows for sure that the human spirit rises to heaven or that the animal spirit sinks into the earth.  So I made up my mind that there’s nothing better for us men and women than to have a good time in whatever we do – that’s our lot.  Who knows if there’s anything else to life?

 

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