Ash Wednesday 2023
Shortly after midnight this past Monday a fire destroyed the oldest Black church in Oakland, California - The First African Episcopal Church.
It began in the attic and the flames spread quickly and became so intense that firefighters fought for 5 hours before they could finally contain the flames. But, by then it was too late. The building was totally destroyed.
Yet, in the midst of this tragedy was a remarkable display of faith and determination. The same day their historic church was destroyed the parishioners gathered in prayer around the ashes and they not only vowed to rebuild their church from the ashes but they recommitted their lives to the Lord.
As Christians, we are called to persevere in the face of adversity, to trust in the Lord and to have faith that He will see us through the darkest of times.
As we gather on this Ash Wednesday, we are reminded of the fragility of life and the fleeting nature of the material things that we hold dear.
In a few moments our foreheads will be marked with ashes and we will hear the words: "Remember, you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
These words are a stark reminder of our mortality, but they are also a call to recommit our lives to the Lord, to seek His forgiveness and His grace, and to live our lives in accordance with His will.
As we begin our Lenten journey today, let’s reflect on our own mortality and to turn our hearts towards God, seeking His guidance and His strength to carry us through the challenges that lie ahead.
May we be filled with the same faith and determination to rebuild our lives from the ashes, to trust in the Lord, and to walk in His ways. Amen.