To give thanks for new life and the fresh start we have because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, the hope of the cross and the beauty of nature.
Bible Reading – Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)
61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
Reflect & Pray
When Jesus gave up His life upon the cross, darkness descended and death appeared to have had the last word. But through His amazing resurrection in glory, Jesus brought life everlasting. God’s eternal rescue plan was fulfilled so we might know light in dark times, a fresh start and the hope of life after death. Beauty and blessings can replace mourning; we can rise from the ashes. The cross is no longer a symbol of death but represents Jesus’ victory over sin and death, giving us a new life and fresh start. Reflect on the hope we can find in Jesus, even in the most barren of circumstances.
What beauty might you long for God to exchange for ashes? It could be a situation, a broken relationship, a sense of hopelessness, fear, doubt… God desires for us to trade-up with Him, so ask Him!