17 February 2021: Ash Wednesday

I’m Calvinist in theology and Bapticostal in practice. Therefore I don’t pay that much attention to the church calendar in real life. In my view, every day is Ash Wednesday and Easter and Christmas. But when you have a government so scared of death that they will lock down most of Auckland, and then wonder why people are getting antsy, you realize that something ore is going on.

Adam Piggott is right. This is spiritual. Our leaders fear death, for they know in their hearts that it will be their damnation.

“Withdrawing from society while hoping the farce collapses in on itself seems the most sensible course of action.”

Likewise, thinking that you’re going to be able to ‘lay low’ and ride this one out is an illusion as well. They will come for you. You will have to pick a side. “When they came for […], I did not speak up…”

You fail to understand: in a spiritual battle, there are no civilians. God tests us all. You are trying to walk through that wide, easy gate thinking you are going to somehow Dodge the coming battle.

Bardelys the Magnificant

What this day should remind is is that we are all flawed, broken, and without Christ we have no salvation by our own works. We are not worthy of worship. We don’t deserve heaven. If we say we are good, we are lying.

The modern people hate the words of the old prayer, but the early reformers knew what was good and worthwhile, and they knew we better be penitent.

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Joel 2:12-17

12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.
14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain offering and a drink offering
for the Lord your God?
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
consecrate a fast;
call a solemn assembly;
16 gather the people.
Consecrate the congregation;
assemble the elders;
gather the children,
even nursing infants.
Let the bridegroom leave his room,
and the bride her chamber.
17 Between the vestibule and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep
and say, “Spare your people, O Lord,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”

Isaiah 58:1-12

58 “Cry aloud; do not hold back;
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet they seek me daily
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the judgement of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgements;
they delight to draw near to God.
3 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,[a]
and oppress all your workers.
4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 “Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed[b] go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10

20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

6 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says,

“In a favourable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

Behold, now is the favourable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3 We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7 by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 through honour and dishonour, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

Those who are scrupulous in keeping the laws of this age need to consider what the consequences of their actions are. There are those who would use force to regulate the behaviour of others (Captain Dan, stop giving our doofus PM ideas: beating people up does not work in a country were most boys have played rugby or league).

They are blind. Not just to their state, They have lost their powers of observation.

Until I pointed the cardinal out to her, she was blind to them. They could have been perched right on her window, singing their hearts out, but she could not see or hear them. It took someone else to show her the cardinal, and now she can’t stop seeing them. She hasn’t taken bird watching to the level that I have, but something was unlocked in her heart through my basic teaching and now I can say that her life has a little more beauty in it than before.

All humans are machines for recognizing beauty and truth, but unless they are taught by a guide, they may never see it. Our physical bodies act as antennae to receive the signal of God, but unless the Gospel is taught to us, the forces of evil will keep Him hidden within our hearts. The world corrupts our conscience at such an early age that it usually requires divine intervention or a loving teacher to unlock the Kingdom of God that is already within us

The risk that post moderns fear is that people will see beauty and truth and then look for virtue and honour and they will then realize that they have been blinded and turn instead to God. The lies are becoming more obvious. the Hatred of Christ is apparent. The entire edivice of post modern polity is nonsense sitting in quicksand. It is very easy to mock.

There’s a huge push to criminalize “Christian Nationalism” in the wake of Trump. Books have even been published already, which is curious since that suggests they were written long before the White Male Christian Nationalist Trump-Loving Russian Terrorists launched their Jan. 6 nuclear strike on the Capitol Building. (It built back better.)

Their lies are so extreme, so obviously void of evidence, that there is nothing we can do in response except mock them. It is a good day to be an Internet troll!

Indeed. we are on this planet for a time like this. And, as the saint yesterday said, we need to recall that we were once Christian. We need to ignore those who preach materialism and cod Marxism. We need to repent.

And then pray God will have mercy, and his mercy will flow. For his justice is terrible.