Have you noticed that politicians have finally tuned in to the rising up of the not-so-silent majority?
In an effort to capture our votes, politicians are suddenly professing their faith in Jesus Christ; calling for a return to decency and doing what’s right instead of what’s politically correct; and most amazing of all, political pundits and some politicians themselves actually sported cross-shaped ashes on their foreheads on national TV Ash Wednesday.
Why is that significant? In a day when Christianity has been pushed off the public stage, ashes on the forehead make the bold statement to the world, “I belong to Christ, and I am not ashamed.”
It symbolizes that we were created from dust by Him and to dust we shall return… on His time schedule. So ashes on the forehead remind us of our mortality and encourage us to turn from our sins before we face our Creator on our own personal day of judgment.
Of course I didn’t understand all that spiritual significance when I was growing up. We didn’t have the Ash Wednesday ritual in my church. Or, if we did, I was unaware of it. But, like many teenagers I wasn’t aware of a lot of things.
So I was shocked when our teacher, Miss Phlegar, strutted into our sophomore English class at Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport, Tennessee sporting a sharp-pointed cross on her forehead that looked like it had been applied with a thick black magic marker. There was nothing subtle about it; but there was nothing subtle about Miss Phlegar either.
She was a joyful soul with twinkling eyes, a mischievous grin that made me wonder why she was so happy all the time, and a short perky haircut with turned up ends that always reminded me of what a teenage water buffalo must look like. She elevated her short, stout figure with thick three-inch high heels in which she strolled in front of the class as if amused by her authority. Miss Phlegar seemed to know who she was and whose she was. And, she was happy about it and behaved accordingly.
Not so today’s politicians. Their walk doesn’t quite match their talk. They engage in shouts, obscenities, and name-calling that violate the new covenant of love, grace, and mercy…but don’t we too on occasion.
It’s hard to tell if Christianity really is making a come back because we are all sinners still misbehaving, seeking forgiveness, and thankful we are saved by grace alone.
So while the vote is still out, I only hope. But God only knows.