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Thursday, January 25, 2018

A Day of Opposites

It is that time of year again. The hues of red invade the stores, chocolate hearts on sale, the greeting card aisle overwhelmed by the color pink, roses being prepared, and the jewelry stores ready... yes, we have come upon the day of Valentines. A day of love, a day of joy, a time where we spend with those we love as we cherish the relationships we have in our lives.

But this year, Valentine's day happens to fall on Ash Wednesday. Initially, it seems to be a day of opposites. At one moment, we celebrate love but in the next, we dwell upon the ashes on our forehead as we hear the words, "remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return". Yes, a somber reflection of who we are and what we need. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the penitential season of Lent as we reflect upon our sin and the true need of Christ. It is on this day, you will have the opportunity to receive ashes on your forehead [in the sign of the Cross] to remember that even in the midst of sin, there is hope in the name of Christ who came into the world to die for sinners.

Why would God do these things? Undeserving, without merit, and destined for eternal condemnation, why would Jesus die for us? Why would Jesus place our wrath upon himself? Why would Jesus endure the most excruciating punishment to pay the penalty for our sin? Why?

The only explanation is love.

"Love is a two-way street" an idiom we often hear that implies that it takes two to make a relationship work. Indeed, this is true in any human relationship. "50/50", "compromise", "reciprocate", "team-work" are words that are used when describing a loving relationship.

But the love of God surpasses these very words. For the love of God is His complete work for you. Attributes such as "unconditional", "gracious", "merciful", and "sacrificial" reveal that God, in His very essence, is love. This love does not meet half way nor is it a 50/50 compromise but through God's abundant love, He called you to be His own by the way of His Son who came to die for sinners. The dirtiness of sin washed away, eternal death no longer your eternal demise, for it is through God's sacrificial and unconditional love that He has brought you over from death to life.

Though February 14th may seem like a day of opposites, it is on this day that we, in our somberness, find great peace in the Cross of Christ, the love of all loves. Even in the midst of our ashes, we cling to these precious words "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are"(1Jn3:1). Indeed, so we are!

As you journey through the season of Lent, may the Lord grant you the continued faith to trust in the mercy of God and His gracious promise given through His Son. I highly recommend that you come to our midweek services (Wednesdays @ 7:30pm beginning Feb 14th) as we walk together with our eyes upon the Cross.

May you all have a blessed Lent!

+Pastor Jeong

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Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email