Ash Wednesday: What is God Asking Me to Do Which I Refuse to Do?

Ash Wednesday message from Archbishop Foley Beach

By Archbishop Foley Beach
February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent in the Christian Church year. For those of us who will gather in churches around North America and receive the imposition of ashes as a sign of our repentance and mortality, we will be challenged to follow Jesus in our lives, examine ourselves for the sins of which we need to repent, and be encouraged to take on spiritual disciplines which draw us into holiness by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This year as you prayerfully examine your own life during Lent, I want to encourage you to look for your sins of neglect. What are your sins of omission? “What is God asking me to do which I am refusing to do?”

Am I neglecting my time alone with God?
Am I neglecting feeding the poor?
Am I neglecting speaking out against evil?
Am I neglecting teaching my children about my faith in Jesus?
Am I neglecting taking care of my body?
Am I neglecting praying for and loving my enemies?
Am I neglecting returning to the Lord His portion of my earnings?
Am I neglecting caring for those in pain around me?
Am I neglecting time with my spouse?

The list could go on and on. You get the point: What are my sins of neglect of which I need to repent?

In trying to deal with my sins of neglect, I have noticed two issues which seem to arise. Firstly, to repent of these sins costs me time. They usually take time to accomplish, which means that if I am going to follow God’s leading and repent, then I am going to have to stop doing something that I am currently doing in order to make time for it. To minister to the needy means I have to give up time doing something else. To spend more time studying the Scriptures means I am going to have to give up time doing something else.

Secondly, I have noticed that, more often than not, I am blinded to my sins of neglect. It takes someone else, a sermon, the Scriptures, a book, or a friend to point them out to me. I am afraid this is a pattern for most of us. We don’t think we have an issue, and then the Holy Spirit convicts us and brings it to our attention. Because they are usually blind spots, this means we are used to living with them; they are comfortable in our lives. To repent will make us uneasy and it is often difficult! We have to be intentional, and oftentimes, we need someone to hold us accountable.

Jesus wants us to repent so we can experience the Kingdom of Heaven in our lives on earth. We often pray in the Lord’s Prayer: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Our sins of neglect truly get in the way of this.

As you walk through the Season of Lent this year, prayerfully look for your sins of neglect. When the Lord reveals them to you, repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The Most Rev. Foley Beach is Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America

Ash Wednesday: A Message from Bishop Roger

Ash Wednesday

Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart. (Joel 2:12)

What a sense of urgency! “Turn to me,” God calls. “Turn to me now!” Why so serious? Are we such terrible sinners? Are we in worse shape than we were last Lent? What’s so important about turning back to him that God presses us to do it right away? Only this: he is “gracious and merciful . . . rich in kindness” (Joel 2:13).

Lent often gets a bad reputation. What with all the fasting, repentance, and self-denial, it can seem like one gray day after another for six long weeks. But the main purpose for this season is God’s work of grace, not our acts of humility. More than anything else, Lent is a time of favor from heaven—and that’s especially so during this year as we seek fervently God’s mercy!

Lent offers us forty days for God to reveal himself. Forty opportunities for us to draw closer to Jesus. Forty days for the Father to shower us with mercy, love, and healing.

God’s mercy is an urgent matter during Lent. He wants to do wonderful things in our lives, and it’s more likely to happen if we take the time to “return” to him. So make yourself available to God, and let him fill you up. Here are four spiritual resolutions you can make that will help you do just that:

  • Spend time each day in personal prayer, praising and thanking God for his love and grace.

  • Examine your conscience daily, and repent of any sins that keep you from reflecting God’s presence to others.

  • Devote some time each day to reading Scripture and asking the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart.

  • Make it a point to participate in the life of the Church through the liturgy and parish involvement.

“Lord, we want to respond to your urgent call! Help us to turn to you this Lent. Jesus, reveal yourself to us and change our hearts. Amen”

I remain yours in the power of the risen Lord,


Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes