Every day is significant. Some days, however, stand out for the drama and the life changing events that take place during them. September 11, 2001, when terrorists took over airplanes and changed the agenda of the world. November 22, 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated. December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy,” when Pearl Harbor was attacked. July 20, 1969, “one giant leap for mankind,” when Neil Armstrong became the first person to step foot on the moon. July 1, 1867, when the Dominion of Canada was constituted.
February 14, 2018 was another of those especially significant days. Three things took place on that particular Wednesday, only one month ago.
First, it was Valentine’s Day. People gave flowers, chocolates, and kisses to their sweethearts. Lots of couples went out for romantic dinners. Affectionate words and lingering glances were shared. A day of love.
Second, it was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Christians from a wide variety of churches gathered together, considered their own brokenness and their own mortality, and received the sign of humility and repentance and hope – ashes in the form of a cross placed on their foreheads. A day of reflection.
Third, it was the day when a sad, angry, broken young man took a weapon of war into a Florida high school and slaughtered 17 people and injured 17 others. The scenes of horrified witnesses, grim emergency responders, and distraught family and friends were seared into our minds. A day of horror.
February 14, 2018 became a day of contrasts. I’ll not soon forget the photo of a Florida teenager, the expression on her face communicating the shock and pain and grief of what was transpiring, while the ashen cross on her forehead proclaimed the promise that violence and evil will not have the final word. I’ll not forget how the day dedicated to love was overshadowed by the actions of hate – but I’ll also remember that ultimately, love wins out. For we who are Christians, the sign of love is a cross, even one roughly smudged on a forehead.
May faith, hope and love be your experience every day.