Beauty from Ashes: God sets Cinderella Free

Ash Wednesday: along with many thousands of churches mine will be holding a Service of Holy Communion and Imposition of Ashes.
Imposition is a big word for us simpler folk for a simple act of being signed with a smudgy, black ash cross, made from last years burnt palm cross. As I get older, I see more and more, that simple is beautiful and that beauty has little to do with expensive, luxury, designer label or lavish advertising campaigns.
A Lily, a Rose a Raindrop on a window pane are all simply beautiful, stunning even: Nothing can be added or subtracted from that beauty it just is…
Many prayers will be made today, many Lenten resolves made, and, perhaps forgotten or broken tomorrow because forgetfulness is part and parcel of being human; this is what ashes from last year remind us, we forget who we are, and what The Lord has created us to become. So, today I am looking back and reminding myself of the simple, awesome Beauty of Grace, the Grace of our Lord dying on a cross, I am turning over in my pocket the one talent which is given to us all and in equal measure, Grace. Grace which is mine to invest, spend, lend, give – freely, freely as I have been given.
Perhaps I may choose to invest that Talent in acquiring for myself from the Beautifier of our souls and inner selves:-

“The unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit..” (1 Peter 3:4)

I have one talent, I need to use or lose, as do you.

How would you choose to Invest from the Talent of Grace?

In the end, Jesus tells us we can achieve nothing ourselves
It is God who brings Beauty from the Ashes and sets Cinderella free to be His Princess.
(or Prince, if you happen to be male).

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Come … And You Will See

Come, Jesus said to two intrigued strangers, “And you will see.” (John 1 v.29 and so began friendship, friendship that endures.

Midweek, a dark, wintry evening and 30 beavers (boys and girls) march across the road from their hut for a first time look inside a church.

That’s right.

A first experience of something strange, altogether new, and strange. Things like fonts altars, organs, bells, chalices, cups.But children are good at making friends, happy to lay hold of the sally and toll the tenor bell, happy to listen to stories of days long past, to sit in the choir and learn a new song; and oh… the look on tiny faces when the altar frontals were raised up so that they might take a peek at the Crib figures, (left in hiding just for them to find tonight’ Christmas being well past) Down, they went on hands and knees to get right in with the straw, little fingers lovingly, tracing the features of baby Jesus.

Then, over in the corner, they come and see the votive candle stand, hear about why some people like to light a candle some have someone at home they want to say a prayer for and I help them to light a candle and say a prayer.

All too soon, the visit is over and our lovely new friends are raising the roof with a beaver BIG shout, saying goodbye, marching out and I am contemplating that their leaders and helpers had also stepped inside a church for the first time and that the things so simply talked about for 6 year olds to understand were just as new to young adults

Tonight, a dark, Sunday evening, a young woman is calling my name, catching up to walk alongside. She knows my name, I don’t know hers. She chats away happily, we come to the big, wide, church gates. “Can I come in, just to see?”

She waits for me to unlock the doors, looks around as I begin to get things ready for the Service in half an hours time. She stays. Sitting in the choir joining in with hymns and prayers, on her way out, says “See you next week.”

Children, adults, is there an age difference when it comes to spiritual things?
Isn’t that how it is for all of us?
We come and we see.

Tell me what you see, when you look at Jesus.