So here we are at the beginning of another Lent and the challenges that lie before us are perhaps tempered by the failures that lies behind us or diminished by our triumphs. Each of us create a patchwork quilt of our lives - some of the patches bring joy, others tears and others still, regret.
Some will take us back to the times when we have blessed God and those around us, others will bring back the pain of failure and separation; from God, from those around us, from those special people in our lives.
Today as Lent's forty days call us to examine our lives, what will we find and who will we have become at the end of this road?
Will the cross be on our shoulders or in a ditch?
Lord, how can we stand in your presence?
Our sins lie behind us and the accuser stands before us.
People, clamour round to hear the words and add their scorn;
Where blessing should be found, there is but contempt.
Those who would call themselves Church become one with those who cried out; "Crucify HIm, crucify Him!"
The homeless are passed by (on the other side of the road);
The hungry go unfed (perhaps it wasn't our ministry);
The poor, will always be with us (and 'we' have so little, what can 'we' do?)
The 'straight' are crooked and the 'gay' are sad,
The woman up the road with four children - none of them have a Dad,
The man who cries out about what should be done - continues to do nothing!
Today - in the ashes of the same palm crosses waved in triumph - is found our failings.
Today - in the ruins of our lives thus far - is found the reminder that we too are dust.
Today - a day of hope, not sorrow - for there is one who speaks for us.
Today - as the path to the cross become clear - there is forgiveness.
Give us the strength to take up our cross
To lay down our sins
And truly follow Him
Who is, for us, the Christ.