Create in me a pure heart,  O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51) 
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Happy Lent.  Ash Wednesday begins—and it is dirty.  Ashes on the head and hearing words from the Fall into sin.  "Dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3)
Lent brings us to the heart of the matter—our sins and our Savior. 
Lent is not about what we give up.  No need to go tell someone that you are giving up sweets or a certain type of food for Lent.  No.  This is not what Lent is about.  Instead Lent is a 40 day journey to the Cross and Empty tomb of our Lord.  Lent is about Jesus.  His work, Jesus giving life to you.
Lent is about what Jesus gives up for you.  Christ fasted for 40 days in the wilderness for you.  Jesus came down out of heaven for you.  Jesus goes to suffer, bleed and die for you.  King Jesus wears the crown of thorns on His royal head.  To remove your every sin. 
What to do this Lent?  Repent, repent of your sin.  Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.    “The time has come,” “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1) Receive Him. Take Jesus' suffering and death in the Word, in the water, in His Body and Blood given for you to eat and drink. Be forgiven. Be absolved. Now, that's Lent! Fast, pray, give, care for people around you, love, forgive, do good to strangers. Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6)
Your heart is made clean by the blood of the Lamb.  Washed with pure water are you the Baptized. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.    And I will put my Spirit in you. (Ezekiel 36)
Those ashes on your heads—look and see what sign they are in.  The sign of the Cross—Jesus’ once for all sacrifice—puts away your sin, your dirt and all the evil is gone.  You are all clean.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.    Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. (Psalm 51)  
Repent  of  your  sin.   Believe  in  Jesus.   Receive  Him  all  the  more  this  Lent—Jesus  as  your Savior.  Happy Lent!  Fixing your eyes on Jesus.  In the Name + of Jesus.  Amen.
634 The Death of Jesus Christ, Our Lord  
1   The death of Jesus Christ, our Lord, 
We celebrate with one accord; 
It is our comfort in distress, 
Our heart’s sweet joy and happiness. 
2   He blotted out with His own blood 
The judgment that against us stood; 
For us He full atonement made, 
And all our debt He fully paid.  


-Pastor Berndt