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Soul-Marked

You are marked, you know.
Soul-marked…by the love of God.

But that can be so hard to remember; given all the other marks we bear.
Marks of our own making. Marks of our unmaking.
Sin, brokenness, folly, regret.
They all, in their own ways, leave marks.
And with blemished hearts and smudged souls, we can forget who marked us first.

And perhaps the most sinister of all marks are the ones without fingerprints.
Tarnishes left with no one to blame.
Disease, trauma, depression, loss.
They too, smear our sensibilities and blur our perspectives.

What we need is a new mark.
Or perhaps an old one, re-traced.

Is it any wonder why the mark we make on Ash Wednesday is in the shape of a cross? It’s that mark, smudged upon head or hand, which clarifies and declares.
It reminds us who we are, whose we are, and where this whole journey is headed.

AshBlogGraphicFor many in the Baptist family, observing Ash Wednesday is a relatively new experience. As more and more Baptist congregations embrace the rhythms and seasons of the Liturgical calendar, there is a growing appreciation and practice of ancient disciplines and traditions that have enriched the Christian journey of millions, for centuries.

As early as the 4th Century, Christians began to anticipate the celebration of Easter with greater focus and readiness. The holy day of Our Lord’s resurrection seemed far too glorious a mystery to simply stumble into it.  So followers of Jesus chose to deliberately enter into the season with a call to contemplation and confession and renewal. The season of Lent, as it is known, begins 46 days prior to Easter, providing the disciple 40 days of prayer and fasting, with breaks on each of the 6 Sundays. (The Lord’s day was considered too much of a celebration to fast, so they took breaks.) By the 9th and 10th centuries, as the practice and observance of Lent became more widespread, congregations would formalize the beginning of the season with a special service known as Ash Wednesday.  In that service, the liturgy would focus on reminding Christians of our humanness, our mortality, our sin, and our great need for salvation. With that kind of focused attention, the believer would move deliberately to Easter with an ever-increasing hope and anticipation of Resurrection.

On Wednesday, March 1st, 2017, Johns Creek Baptist will offer the opportunity to do the same. We will host our 5th annual Ash Wednesday Service, beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary. We will enter a time of reflection, prayer, confession and renewal, as we too anticipate with greater focus and readiness, the resurrection of the one who makes all things new.

So, come.
Come and be reminded. Come and be marked.
Soul-marked…by the love of God.

Shaun King
Senior Pastor
Johns Creek Baptist Church

2 Comments. Leave new

  • Totally life-changing message of Truth Pastor Shaun. So very honored & proud to call you Friend.

    In this dark stained time in this part of world history, this message straight from The Almighty, comes at a perfect time.

    Charge on our Brother in Christ, charge on.

    Reply
  • Comell W Moore
    February 22, 2017 9:49 pm

    You are right, Shaun, Baptist churches have not done Ash Wednesday, but we did Spring Revival, a three day event aimed at contemplation, confession, and renewal – with a call to commitment at the end of every service. That too, worked, even though we didn’t have the mark to show. Times change and we do too. Thank you for reminding us of these purposes.

    Reply

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