Humble Servants of the Lord
Archbishop Loren Thomas Hines
February 26, 2020
Readings: Isaiah 58: 1-12
2 Corinthians 5: 20b- 6: 10
Matthew 6: 1- 6; 16- 21
As we enter the season of Lent, we are reminded that this is a time of preparation to receive who Christ is in our lives. We are servants of the living God – and this should set a course in our lives to be humble and not to be self-centered. The self-centeredness causes us to do what we like and reject the things of God. Instead of building His kingdom, we are too busy building our own. We want everything easy, we want everything comfortable. We do not want to experience pain. But when Christ was on earth, He had to go through sacrifices, face opposition and suffering.
Ash Wednesday is not meant to put us down or destroy us but to awaken us to the fact the weakness of the flesh. We have been used to setting our own course, seeking our own pleasure and avoiding painful things. Scriptures tell us that fasting is taking care of others more than the self.
We are surrounded with a very self-seeking world today. What’s in it for me? A stark example is the rampant abortion taking place in many countries, such as the United States. We do not want to be inconvenienced. We do not want to serve others. This is a total denial of servanthood. Ash Wednesday makes us realize we need to be humble. Without God, we will not survive. We should be servants in behalf of others. Taking away the pleasure of the self.
Ash Wednesday calls us to remember that we are flesh. We came from dust. But having been given the breath of life from God, we should be made aware that we are to be thankful of what He has done in our lives. There should be humility – an openness before God and an acknowledgement of our failures.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Welfare here means well-being or one’s state of well-being. Luke 18: 14 ….for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The mark of the ash on our foreheads is a reminder that we are dust, and we came from Him. We are called to be His servants and to act in humility. God is the one who restores and gives us new life.