Today is Ash Wednesday.
It is the beginning, not of Forty Days of Purpose, but of forty days of repentance for our warped purposes and corrupted hearts.
It summarizes the genuine Christian faith: it is about repentance, not achievement; weakness, not power; unworthiness, not reward; and the only "victory" involved here is the victory of Jesus, Who bore a cross to win it.
It is an occasion not much celebrated- and certainly not appropriately- in "megachurches" and other citadels of apostasy to the popular culture. It is an offense to everything that is popular, and everything likely to draw a crowd or make a profit.
It is a reminder that before we are ready to receive what Christ has to give us, we have to be brought by God's Law to the recognition that we ourselves have nothing.
It is a terribly, terribly un-American and subversive occasion.
Run- don't walk- to your nearest confessional Lutheran congregation, hear God's Word of Law and condemnation in order that you might be able to hear His Word of Gospel and grace, and receive upon your forehead a public confession that you are a loser before God. In so doing, bear in mind that where God is concerned, only losers participate in the victory of His Son; only the sinner, not the righteous man, has any need of a Savior.