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  • Writer's pictureGrace Episcopal Church

Ash Wednesday Devotional

By Deacon Mary Delancey

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:7-8

Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday converge this year. It seemed uncomfortably strange, until I really thought about it. What is Lent about if it isn’t about love?

While I’m all for the warm, squishy feelings, the love experienced in Lent isn’t that. If we’ve been around the Church long enough, we have probably heard it said that the kind of love we are called to as Christians, is not a feeling but a decision. We are called to love others as God loves us. The love of God is agape love. Agape means that we love people who cannot or will not give you anything in return. It calls us to show empathy and understanding and to extend grace, especially when it’s hardest to give. Agape is sacrificial. Lent is a reminder that God “so loved the world.”

Agape love does not come naturally to me, and sometimes it is hard work. Growing a deeper relationship with God is the only way I can even begin to express agape love. In God’s love, we can begin to understand what this real love means. And those times I have decided on agape, when I felt anything but love, have brought me closer to God. As I take on Lenten spiritual disciplines this season, I ask God to show me his agape in my life and the life of others. And for God to give me opportunities, with his help, to show agape to all, even when it is difficult - especially when it is difficult.

When you examine your spiritual life this Lent, will you look for the presence of agape in your life?

Will you repent the times you have not shown agape to others, and ask God to help you see others as he sees them?

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