If you follow the revised Christian lectionary, you will note that today begins the Lent season which is marked by the Ash Wednesday service. Lent is a time that is set aside in this calendar for all adherents to fast for 40 days in preparation towards Easter.
This year happens to be an extraordinary day as Ash Wednesday and Valentine’ s Day falls on the same day. This unusual happening led me to think about the concept of love (which relates to Valentine’s Day ) and dying (Which relates to Ash Wednesday) a bit differently.
On Valentine’s day, we celebrate with everyone that we love them, it is a day where most people purpose to show especially the people in their lives that they love them dearly. On the other hand, Ash Wednesday emphasizes our human mortality. During the Ash Wednesday service, the preacher, priest or whoever leads the service marks a cross on the forehead of each congregant and in the process, he or she says to them “”Remember, man, that dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return” (Genesis 3:19).
For me these two words seem very weighty; “death” and “love”. For our devotion today, I want to meditate on God’s word in the gospel of John:
13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
– John 15:3
This verse captures both themes perfectly. In this scripture verse, Jesus Christ was speaking to his disciples and shared these beautiful words with them.
In this verse, Jesus Christ teaches us that to love greatly is best expressed in when one lays down his or her life for others. In verse 12 of this chapter, Jesus first says to them to love one another as He has loved them and then in the 13th verse, He tells them how to love one another by laying their lives down for each other.
How do you love others? Is it from a place of dying that your life is laid down for them?
I know this is a very difficult way of expressing love but these are the wise words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to us today. As you celebrate this extraordinary Val/Ash Day note that greater love is expressed in when we die to ourselves for the sake of others.
I pray that the Holy Spirit our dearest friend and helper will continue to help and guide us in our journey through this life. We are called to love and in loving, it will require dying to our selfish interests. To truly express love, note that it will take you to sacrifice in order to give. Remember for God so loved us that God sent Jesus Christ to die for you and me.
What is love requiring of you today? The homeless person by the road side, spouse, the children, the students, the patients, the orphans, the orphans, the victims of abuse, those in prison, the elderly, the community leaders, and on and on.
Have a wonderful Vals/Ash Day. Always remember that Jesus Christ loves you dearly that He died for you ❤ 🙂