Ash Wednesday: Encountering Holy Frustration

Lenten Journey of Justice facebook 2

Devotion “Encountering Holy Frustration”

The ancient Christians cycled their lives around the gospel story, seeing each part of the year as a reminder of Christ’s journey through the incarnation, life, death and his glorious resurrection. Lent is a season of preparing for Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, but it is also a time of preparation modeled after Jesus’ temptation in the desert.

The desert is a frustrating place, it is inhospitable and unforgiving, yet there is life there. Frustration at times can be a gift. It can awaken the prophetic imagination, and help us see what we are dragging behind us that needs to be cut loose. It is a place people flee to when they know they have been too comfortable and complacent. It is the place the Spirit led Jesus to be prepared for the cross.

In a world where comfort seems so ubiquitous, we can become numb to the injustice beneath all that comfort. For some, we have been awoken to the oppression and brokenness of a world crying out for justice, longing for the people of God to notice that all is not right with the world; to notice that many are clinging to hope in the midst of their suffering for the full redemption of creation. It is a time of recognizing our own brokenness, and letting our hearts again be broken for the broken world Jesus entered into in order to save. Sackcloth and ashes and dust are all badges of brokenness; visual reminders that our brokenness inside echoes out into the world around us.   


Watch Video “A Thousand Questions”


Ash Wednesday Activity (for small group or individual)

On  small strips of paper write a reservation (something you hold back from God), sin, or an injustice you have experienced that remains unforgiven. Put the paper in the fireproof container (placed on a trivet or potholder or outside) and light them on fire. Allow adequate time for things to cool down to avoid injury. After the paper is consumed mix a few drops of water in with the ashes, stirring until a paste is formed. Make the sign of the cross on each forehead saying the words “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Close time with the Lord’s Prayer.


About jtower11

Hi there! I am James Tower: A husband, father, dreamer, visionary, thinker, poet, mystic, metal-worker, and scholar. I have served College Avenue Friends since 2013. I like to describe the way God has been at work in my life by saying that "He has been creating in me the heart of a pastor, the mind of a scholar, and the zeal of a missionary." I have an extremely nontraditional background as Jesus has given me freedom from the slavery of addiction to drugs, and my journey to faith came later in life after an overdose in 2000. I graduated with a M. Div with an emphasis in biblical studies from George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland Oregon in 2016. I have a love for teaching and revealing the historical and doctrinal context from which the biblical text arises, and connecting its redemptive message to life today. Other interests include teaching a leadership class based on the Friends Testimonies at William Penn University, writing, and metalwork such as blacksmithing, a passion which I enjoy teaching others as a way of discipleship. View all posts by jtower11

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