Repentance as Resistance: Ash Wednesday

Those in attendance at the Wycliffe College Annual Preaching Day this past Monday were treated to multiple courses of rich fare as Fleming Rutledge spoke throughout the day on the theme of “Preaching the Cross in Our Rapidly Changing World.”  Wycliffe College has posted the video of her presentations on their YouTube channel here.  At one point, I believe it was in response to a question, Rutledge suggested that we dare not underestimate the importance of repentance in our resistance to the Powers.  This aside caught my attention, particularly as today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Season of Lent.  In her sermon at Evening Prayer, Rutledge observed that on Ash Wednesday the few who gather do so not simply on their own behalf, but rather they gather to repent on behalf of the entire world.  I would add that in offering this vicarious penitence the church exercises its royal priesthood and participates in the reality of its great High Priest who in his vicarious penitence bore the sin of the world.  Since the Powers rule over us through feeding upon our fear of Death and courting the illusion of our self-sufficiency, we dare not underestimate the significance of the liturgical act of resistance that involves receiving the ashes of repentance and hearing the words, “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

One thought on “Repentance as Resistance: Ash Wednesday”

  1. “but rather they gather to repent on behalf of the entire world” — Yes! What a grand, cosmic, and missional reorientation from the individualistic, personal hijacking of “the priesthood of all believers.” Thank you Fleming Rutledge and Rob Dean for elucidating that somewhat lost or forgotten reality and responsibility. So wish I could have attended.

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