This is why we came—not to be reminded of our finitude. God knows we feel it in our bones, and some of us in our backs and legs and arthritic hands. We come kneeling and hoping that something or someone will whisper forgiveness so that we might start again. Believing or at least hoping that these 40 days that lead to the cross might just touch something deep in our hearts.
The priest comes and dabs his finger into the ashes.
I have lived in the U.S. for nearly three years now, and there is so much to love: the beauty and the grandeur of the landscape, the welcome and hospitality I’ve found in one city after another, and so many new friends.
There are moments when I can see the walls melting away, short seasons of shalom when I catch glimpses of blessed unity. Then, even in places where unity should be most possible, the walls go up again, the circles draw in tighter.
The depth of our dividedness baffles me. How can I love my enemy when that enemy deflects every overture of interest, denies any possible middle ground, demands agreement on an endless list of positions (political, theological, economic) before discussion can begin?
You probably won’t hear Greg Laswell's songs in church. You’re more likely to catch them on the radio or in the background of a particularly intense moment of shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, or The Carrie Diaries. Yet his songs animate the highs and lows of my spiritual journeys. I’ve also started using them in my U.S. religious history courses.