Reformation Lutheran Church A Congregation of the ELCA

Ash Wednesday, February 10 Read Malachi 3:1-7

Ever since the days of your ancestors you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:7

When Long Before Time

“When long before time and the worlds were begun, when there was no earth and no sky and no sun, and all was deep silence and night reigned supreme, and even our Maker had only a dream…”

In the beginning, God had a plan – all his creatures would live in peace and harmony with one another in the beautiful garden they called home. The human creatures, man and woman, would live all their days caring for the creation in love for God and in service to one another.

“The sounds of the creatures were one with their Lord’s, their harmonies sweet and befitting the Word; the Singer was pleased as the earth sang the Song, the choir of the creatures re-echoed it long.”

God’s plan was perfect, but his children were not. Before long, the people became obsessed with what made them happy rather than with what made God happy. They threw caution to the wind, took some bad advice from a snake and got themselves evicted from their idyllic home. Suddenly Adam and Eve were refugees with no possessions, no skills and nowhere to go.

They were the first, but certainly not the last, humans to prioritize serving self above serving God and others. The human story has continued over all the millennia since creation began: God sets out a plan for his children to follow; the children are self-absorbed and fall short of God’s expectation. Even so, there has always been hope. “Return to me,” says the Lord, “and I will return to you.”

“Though down through the ages the Song disappeared, its harmonies broken and almost unheard, the Singer comes to us to sing it again, our God is with us in the world now as then.”

Here we are: Adam, Eve, Abraham, Moses, King David, Simon Peter, the apostle Paul, Martin Luther, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Pope Francis, you and me – sinners all, covered in ashes, glowing in grace.

“The Light has returned as it came once before, the Song of the Lord is our own song once more, so let us all sing with one heart and one voice the Song of the Singer in whom we rejoice.”

Dallas Cronk
Lyrics from When Long Before Time, WOV 799


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