heart of ash with Christian cross in middle for Ash Wednesday 2024

.Happy Ash Wednesday. Does that greeting seem jarring to you? Does it feel like an oxymoron? “Happy” doesn’t seem to fit the mood of this day of penitence, prayer and self-denial, does it?  However, as we juggle the juxtaposition of Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday this year, maybe it’s the perfect day to remember that Ash Wednesday is the portal that leads to the happiest day of all—the resurrection of Christ Jesus. 

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of Earthly love. It revels in self-indulgence in the form of chocolate and roses, special dinners, and champagne toasts. It involves laying “claim” to your beloved or your friend group or your family. By contrast, Ash Wednesday is a time to contemplate God’s boundless love and grace and to remember that God laid claim to us by sending his only son to be the bridge of reconciliation to the Father. It’s a time to confess our sins and to move together toward the cross in humility and service. In these ways, we do, in fact, celebrate. We celebrate the greatest love of all—God’s love. 

May the Lenten days ahead keep us mindful of what Jesus suffered on our behalf, but also make us joyful that He loved us first, and that Easter is coming—for all of us.

Happy Ash Wednesday from all of us at Vision Africa.