This past fall we had a severe firestorm blow through Southern California. There is a mountain just east of us called Palomar Mountain that susatined some major damage. The first week of July I will be taking a group of 80-100 youth up to the mountain (with lots of help!) and sharing with them a series of messages called “Out of the Ashes.”
As I read through scripture (with the help of Bibleworks) I’m noticing that ashes represent a variety of things, but are on the whole negative. They are a sign of mourning. They are a sign of repentance (repentance is good, but the fact that sin was committed is not so good). They are a sign of national humiliation. They are a sign of worthlessness and insignificance. There is a beautiful verse in Isaiah 61 though that reads, “God will give them a crown of beauty in place of ashes.”
I anticipate seeing new growth from under the ash of the dead trees. What a beautiful image. When our old self has been put to death, when we have spiritually returned to that ash from which we were created, new life begins to emerge.
If you have any thoughts on ashes please send ’em my way and if I use them in my message I’ll give you all the credit.