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Ash Wednesday and the Culture of Death

Every year on Ash Wednesday, I find myself thinking about my appreciation for and friendship with Father Thomas McKenzie, a dear companion of so many in the Rabbit Room community. Beyond the shared stories and meaningful moments, the most impactful aspect of knowing Thomas was seeing the centrality of Jesus at work in his life.

Thomas never shied away from the truth, and it’s what made Church of the Redeemer such a special place during our years in Nashville. Whether you were sharing a meal or listening to a sermon, Thomas had a way of allowing core things to remain at the core (and everything else could fall away). Love is supreme. Christ is victorious. Death is real, but resurrection even more so.

For me, Thomas always had a way of bringing the season of Lent into view like no one else. It wasn’t about charisma or theatrics, new ideas or dynamic stories. Instead, it was the authentic and vulnerable ways in which he invited truth in to do its work in his own life and his encouragement for us to allow the same.

On this Ash Wednesday, it felt appropriate to post a short sermon from Thomas, who is tragically no longer with us, about the ways in which we participate in a culture of death and a call to allow the Spirit to guide us toward life.

You can also listen via Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Matt Conner is a former pastor and church planter turned writer and editor. He’s the founder of Analogue Media and lives in Indianapolis.

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