Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

I will never forget Ash Wednesday of 2011. We held Clint Dobson’s funeral that day. After his tragic death on March 3, our church was filled to capacity on March 9 as we grieved the loss of our friend and brother. On the liturgical calendar, that day marked the beginning of the Lenten Season. On our church’s calendar, it will always be remembered with solemnity and profound respect.

So, now here we are – one year later. Next week, we will pause on the 3rd of March to reflect upon Clint’s life. We will celebrate the fact that no one can rob Clint of the eternal life secured for him in Christ. And – no one can negate the impact of his life upon us and countless other people. And – we will express our gratitude to God that Clint’s ministry continues to bear fruit in the Kingdom of God. For example, a scholarship has been established in his memory at his beloved Truett Seminary that will provide financial support for students for years to come.

Ash Wednesday will be commemorated across Christendom as faithful congregants will be doused with ashes in an ancient ceremony acknowledging the penalty of sin – namely, death. This day marks the beginning of our annual journey toward a hill outside of Jerusalem where the innocent Lamb of God died for our sins. The ensuing days of Lent offer believers an opportunity to reflect upon the true meaning of Christ’s death. For over 1800 years, this season has been characterized by sacrifice and self-denial as followers of Jesus seek to enter into His suffering and embrace the significance of His death.

The good news is that the story does not end on Good Friday. We not only engage in a pilgrimage to Golgotha – we also stand at an empty tomb on Easter Sunday and proclaim, “He is risen! He is risen indeed!”

Resurrection is God’s cure for death. All Christians die in its light. Clint Dobson’s earthly life was extinguished a year ago. However, he died in the light of the resurrection of His Lord. And, his life was a testimony to that light. His ministry offered hope to those living in darkness. His faithfulness unto death continues to shine as a beacon of light across time. In fact, the tragic circumstances surrounding his death demonstrate just how much darkness and brokenness remains in our world. However, the light of Clint’s life also expresses the remedy in Christ that is available to everyone. There is an answer to brokenness, darkness and death.

It is Ash Wednesday. Easter is not far away.