Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ashes to go

"I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word."

The season of Lent is oddly satisfying. I like hymns in minor keys. I am relieved to simplify, to examine unnecessary habits, and start the hard work of decluttering my soul from all that has hit at it hard this year. I love leading the quiet liturgy at noon, and have been surprised by the tremendous calm that comes over the congregation during the service.

Later in the day, I sat with someone. I had the great privilege of listening as he examined his life. We talked about how sobering this day is, but how hopeful it also feels. There was a richness in this conversation that was pure grace.

I've been intrigued by a recently popular practice of going out to public places to impose ashes. A few colleagues have done this, and I may be doing it next year, too. Standing at a train depot with ashes is counter-cultural, in that it wouldn't be terribly popular to remind folks of their mortality. And I wonder how it could come close to the power of the Spirit at work as fiercely it was in the private conversation I had today, made possible by quiet space and a dimly lit sanctuary. There's only one way to find out. So I hope that, next Ash Wednesday, my deacon friend and I will do just that.


Blogger Judith said...


7:55 AM  

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