Thank you to everyone who came out on Ash Wednesday to pray and receive ashes to begin the season of Lent. It is such a beautiful part of the yearly rhythm of our (and the wider Church) community.

In each of the three services we held on Wednesday, we read Isaiah 58:1-12. It is, at times, perhaps an uncomfortable read, but I think it is so powerful and important, particularly for the season of Lent. I would invite everyone to pull out your Bibles and give it a look. Maybe stick a bookmark in at that page, or put a copy up on your wall, so to be able to come back and read it a couple of times through this Lenten season to reflect on the sort of fast that God desires from us.

For those who weren’t able to make it, the rest of this week’s “back-page reflection” is just the reflection I shared at the 3  Wednesday services.

May you (and I) observe a Holy Lent.

Reflection for Ash Wednesday 2024

Today is a solemn day.

It is OK to have solemn days.

We will put ashes on our faces, we will remember/be reminded that we are dust and to dust we shall return.

We will remember/be reminded that we are sinners. That we have done things, are doing things, and will do things in the future that break relationship with ourselves, with each other, with the earth, with God.

This is a little out of style in our culture, even in some churches.

There is this idea, explicit or implicit, that we do not sin. That we really shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves and each other. That we can pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. That with the right diet, or exercise regime, or meditation practice, or thoughts, or actions, that we can be perfect, that we can live forever.

Ash Wednesday is for the truth. The sometimes-uncomfortable truth.

Not a truth that we are miserable, unlovable, worthless worms.

Just the truth that we are indeed mortal, finite. Just the truth that we sin, we do, we sin individually, collectively, by what we do, by what don’t do…


We are loved anyways. We are loved by the one who shaped this dust and breathed the breath of life into it, we are love by the one who shared our human nature, who became dust, just like us, who returned to the dust, just like us, who raised that humble dust, just like us, to glory.


Facing those sometimes hard, uncomfortable truths. And facing that love (which can also sometimes be uncomfortable).

We are invited to do the next step, the step that comes after confession. To ask, what next? What will we do to be, not perfect, but perhaps just a little bit different?

To make amends. To fast from what does not bring life. To stop worshipping the idols in our lives. To forgive. To be generous to those who need generosity. To spend time with God in study, or prayer. To work for justice and peace. To reorient our life, even just a little bit, towards what is good.

The fast, the repentance, that God chooses, that God desires, is one that affects the world, that affects others just as much as ourselves, so that all may experience the love and freedom and peace that God brings, in our hearts and minds, in our lives, in our neighbourhoods and in our world. Amen.