OK, by now most of us know that that delightful little ditty we grew up chanting is really a macabre holdover from the plague times of old. But as I was pondering Ash Wednesday and my plan to observe Lent this year I was struck with the significance of one particular line.
Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.
Ash Wednesday is a day of repentance, a day when those who observe it are marked with the visible indication that we ALL fall down.
We fall down in so many ways. We sin against our families, our friends, our communities, and our God. We fall down, and we lie in ashes on the ground and mourn our failure once again. And then God steps in. He lifts us from the ashes and calls us on a journey, a journey of following in his footsteps. If we rise from the ashes and go on that journey with him he can and will bring something beautiful from our failures.
Today is a day to repent of our sins. But it is also a day to begin a journey that will lead us to the cross and to the reminder that for EVERY time we fall, for ALL of us who fall provision has been made. Grace has been given.
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3: 23,24 (NIV)
(Looking for more resources on Lent? You can find a daily devotional on the Journey to the Cross here. Jennifer at Conversion Diary has some recommended readings for Lent. If anyone else would like to make suggestions in the comments, please do!)