Summary: A sermon for Ash Wednesday dealing with Sinfulness
Ash Wednesday Sermon Psalm 51:1-13 Sinfulness
On this Ash Wednesday my Lenten journey begins...I am like a fisherman who launches his boat at dawn on the way to deep waters... The morning seas are calm; but the fisherman knows a storm can come with little warning. The boat may be buffeted by wind and waves before the journey is done. It may even capsize...Nevertheless , carefully equipped for the journey, he launches his boat, he pushes out. . He trusts that his journey will be successful and be good. . . My boat is my self; the waters are my life. a new course; . . I am making a new effort to direct my to God to live my life in Christ...... I am on my way to deep waters of faith. My morning seas are calm, but I know that winds of unrest, discontent or discouragement may lie ahead. My boat may even capsize... Nevertheless I push out. I trust that I will have a good journey because Jesus goes with me...He will guide me through the words of the Lenten scripture reading-. He will help me to understand better through them the journey through death He himself has taken. And he will give me courage to follow low. . The strength of his presence in me will help me to forgive, accept, persevere,
and love through the weeks ahead........ I will join with other--family, friends, the children,other parishioners--who are also on this journey. Together we will turn to God in prayer and ritual . . Jesus, present among us, will join his pray to ours........ I am eager to push out from shore.......... I have the words of the Ash Wednesday challenge in my ears: "Repent and believe in the Gospel." I am ready to begin."
Today’s Parish, Feb.,1966
Our Lenten journey begins with the Psalms, Psalm 51. In this Psalm, David is confessing his sin and his need for forgiveness. He says:
“according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight, so that thou art justified in thy sentence and blameless in thy judgment.” RSV
David is saying he deserves punishment for his sin. He knows he is a sinner in the eyes of God. The question can be asked, can you? Can you acknowledge that in the eyes of God you are a sinner. It is because of you and me that Christ died on the cross. Yes, not only for me and you did he die, but because of us. Because of our sins, Jesus died.
The Psalmist says:
:”Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
We are born into sin and live our whole lives as sinners.
Now you might be saying, not me pastor. I am a good person. I live a life that does not do all those awful sins like kill, steal, commit adultery. How can I be a sinner. Yet, in God’s eyes we are sinners. We fall short of what God expects of us all the time.
Our, as we call them, little sins mount up according to what God expects of us. We are like the birds in the following:
Wanda and I went to Niagara Falls stood at the edge watching some birds. Some birds once were swooping down to snatch a drink from the clean water. A man standing next us us told us how he had seen birds plunge into the water. They had dipped down for a drink, and ice had formed on their wings. Then they had dipped for another, and another, and more and more ice formed on their little bodies. Another dip or two and they could not rise. Into the Falls they went.
Sin is as deceptive as the sparkling water of Niagara wintry rapids. Dip into it once too often, and we are not able to lay aside the weight which sin gives us by clinging so closely."
Since God demands perfection and we cannot achieve it, our sins do mount up. We are sinners.
Our sins do have not to be what we consider the awful sins, killing, stealing and committing adultery. They can be the every day sins of our own pride, our own built in prejudice, our own ideas of what should be right and wrong.
The following illustrates:
A modern parable with author unknown
“There are six people gathered around a dying campfire on a dark and bitter night. Each one has a stick which they might place on the fire. But, sadly, one by one they decide not to give what they have to keep the fire going. The lone woman does not give because there is a black man in the circle. The penniless tramp does not give because in that circle there is a member of the idle rich. The rich man does not give because he reasons his contribution would obviously help someone who was lazy and shiftless. Another didn’t give because one of the six didn’t belong to his church. The black man hung tight to his wood, because it was his way of getting even or back at all the whities. Still another would not give because he believed in giving only to those who also gave. And each one felt if he or she were asked to give with a personal invitation, or if they knew the need was really great, then they would give.