The Reset Button

2019-03-06 – Ash Wednesday – The Rev. Christopher Klukas

Joel 2:1–2, 12–17; Psalm 103:8–14; 2 Corinthians 5:20–6:10; Matthew 6:1–6, 16–21

  • If you know anything about computers, you will know that they break.
    • Computers can make you want to rip your hair out, and they will tempt you to throw them across the room in exasperation.
  • One of the major skills of becoming computer literate, is learning how to fix your computer, or your cell phone, or you tablet when it breaks.
  • If that sounds overwhelming to you, I’m going to give you a little secret tonight.
    • When in doubt, push the reset button.
  • For whatever reason, if a computer runs long enough, little bits of data will get corrupted and the computer will stop working, or at least stop working well.
  • Most of the time, simply restarting the computer will fix whatever is wrong.

The Reset Button

  • Our lives are really a lot like computers in this way.
  • When you live long enough, your life will start to be corrupted by sin.
  • God has, at times, demonstrated his wrath over sin through thunderstorms, battles, exile, destruction, and even a global flood.
  • When you consider your sin in the face of God’s wrath, it might make you tremble.
  • Joel gave God’s people a stern warning to this effect in our reading this evening.
    • Joel 2:1-2
    • The “Day of the Lord” is a term common among the prophets which generally means “…the occasion when Yahweh actively intervenes to punish sin that has come to a climax.”
    • Joel’s description of this day is scary indeed!
  • But this is not the last word Joel has for us. Joel 2:12-13
    • God calls his people to return, to push the “reset” button.
    • This repentance should not just be with outward signs, but should signify a change of heart. A fresh intention to walk in his ways.
    • God’s character is always to have mercy (v. 13).

Ashes

  • Today is a day of mourning, but also a day of Joy.
  • We mourn over our sin, we mourn over our mortality which is the result of sin, and we put ashes on our foreheads to remind us of both of these realities.
  • We also repent before the Lord. We tell God that the way things are in our lives is not the way we desire for them to be. We ask him to push the reset button and restore us.
  • …And he does! Psalm 103: 8, 12, 14.

An Invitation to a Holy Lent

  • God is always faithful to forgive us when we return to him.
  • There is now a great race set before us in the season of Lent. The purpose of this season is to prepare us for the joy of Easter when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and his victory over death.
    • We fast and practice self denial
    • We pray
    • We give alms
    • Before we do any of this, we repent.
  • Hebrews 12:1b-2

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