In Featured, Pastor Paul's Blog

By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘marked’ as in… I’m a marked man. You’re a marked woman. We’re a marked people.

If the central message of the season of Advent (the four week preparation for Christmas) is “God With Us…” then the central message of the season of Lent (the forty day preparation for Easter) is “God For Us…” For a lot of us who may have grown up with the message that God is, quite frankly, “out to get us” this may take a bit of unpacking. Let me see if I can help.

“God for us.” Let’s just hold that for a moment; let’s not rush it. “God for us.”

In fact, let’s repeat that phrase three times, each time emphasizing each subsequent word. Say it with me:

God” for us.

Next, God “for” us.

Finally, God for “us.”

“God for us.” That’s the message of the season of Lent; That is the spirited oxygen that we breathe together that gives us life. And after a long season of a global pandemic, the ravages of COVID-19, the racial unrest and reckoning, and a political season that nearly undid us, if ever there was any really good, “this-really-changes-everything” news, this is it: God is for us.

The ashes on our foreheads remind us that we are dust and to dust we shall return. We are mortal. That message is intended to unsettle us at least, and undo us at most. But it’s in our unsettled and undone lives that this good news sets us free! God is for us, God is in our corner, by our side! God is for us.

So we move through Lent, marked again or maybe for the first time. And we’re called to partner together for the dream of God, for the mission of God, for the party, the network, the dance, the commonwealth, the revolution of God that is always unfolding.

By now, the ashes on our foreheads have disappeared; wiped off, washed away. But what remains, and will not fade is what we’re set free to do as marked people. What will you do with it?


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where be blogs about a different word each day. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche), or on his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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  • Nicholas

    Love this, emphasizing these 3 words differently. Really gets the mind going.

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