I have spent the past twenty-four hours pondering today’s Ash Wednesday readings and I’m surprised that in more than thirty years of praying and preaching these scriptures I’ve never before noticed the emphasis on the word “acceptable”.
“In an acceptable time I heard you and on the day of salvation I helped you. Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
I suppose I tend to spend a lot of time, energy and prayer trying to get circumstances helpfully aligned thinking that this is necessary before I can live more fully, more happily, more healthily. And like you I know this abundant life for which I yearn is only possible for when I desire to live in relationship with Jesus Christ.
However I too often forget that Jesus does not need me to get things right before he can begin to work for me, with me and in me. The way I am today is a good-enough beginning point and therefore NOW is an acceptable time, a VERY acceptable time.
Let’s recall that acceptable doesn’t mean fully ready, or that I’m good enough or enthusiastic enough, An acceptable time is simply a time able to be agreed on. A suitable time. A tolerable time.
An acceptable time is an ok time.
All I need to do today, with my half-heartedness and frailty, is to give Jesus the ok.
OK is a good enough starting point for God and even better when I agree to tolerate Jesus transforming me, healing me and forgiving me.
So today on day one of Lent, it doesn’t matter if I don’t feel too enthusiastic. All I need is to express to Jesus a bit of willingness, a bit of openness.
Even when the situation in our world is far from the peace we pray for and need, the powerful Spirit of God will work with our timid willingness and cautious openness.
NOW is an acceptable time, and however I’m feeling today, that’s enough for Jesus.
Let’s take up Pope Francis’ invitation to make and act of prayer and fasting today. On Sunday he asked us to join him: “I renew my invitation for everyone to take part on 2 March, Ash Wednesday, in a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Ukraine, in order to be near to the suffering Ukrainian people, to be aware that we are all brothers and sisters, and to implore God for an end to the war.”
On the Homepage of this FFF website (click on the image below) you will find several browsing options including:
- Prayer Requests – an opportunity to list your own requests for prayer and to let others know that you are praying for them and their intentions
- Event Calendar – where you can suggest a time and place for a cafe or bar gathering inviting others to join you.