Invited In (Ash Wednesday)

February 16, 2021, By: Jimmy Scruggs

Starter Prayer: God of surprising invitations: Give us the wisdom and humility to recognize our worth; and give us the courage to accept your invitation into a more satisfying spiritual life.

Focus Phrase: Invited In

Churches love inviting people to do stuff: You’re invited to attend services, volunteer, give in the offering, learn from the message, sign your kids up for camp and more.

Many places, you’re invited to come to church on Ash Wednesday to receive “ashes” on your forehead. The Ash Wednesday service at Crossroads is a favorite of mine. We’re not a very traditional church, but we treasure the meaning of Ash Wednesday– the first day of Lent, when everyone is invited to pause, reflect and focus on spiritual health for 46 days leading up to Easter Sunday.

This year, the world is social distancing, so we won’t be touching each other’s faces. When I asked my colleague Jessica Perez how we might do a safe version of this, she said, “Oh I don’t think we can; Pope Francis isn’t even doing it.” LOL, Jess is right:) 

But all is not lost! Perhaps being stuck in Pandemic Land has opened new pathways for spiritual wholeness in 2021. I love how Rev. T. Denise Anderson puts it in our Lent devotional:

Again and again, God invites us into fuller ways of being. There is no better time to accept that invitation than now, when so much is different. Maybe no ashes mark our foreheads today, but they can still mark our hearts.

Bingo! We’re invited into fuller ways of being; and there’s no time to waste.


  • Read pp. 1-2 in the devotional, Again & Again. The link is in every Journey email. If you’re not getting those, register here.
  • Read Matthew 6:1-21.
  • Questions for journaling, prayer and spiritual conversation:
    • When have you “performed publicly” for God and others? How did you feel, during and after?
    • What are your highest hopes and dreams for healing, freedom and “fuller ways of being” during these 46 days of Lent?


  • For daily texts with the Focus Word, Starter Prayer and link to these daily posts, text the word “lent” to 970-500-0970.
  • Join Ryan on Facebook Live, every weekday morning at 10am for spiritual conversation on these Lent themes.
  • Looking for the link to the digital devotional or your copy of the print version? Register here.

Join the Orange Dots of Hope Facebook Group for spiritual conversations.