Yesterday I declined to be the one to put ashes on my own kids' foreheads. Today I sent them back into the violent world we all have made.
I'm a queer Christian pastor, and I'll be using regular, old, boring ashes like always.
At our first outdoor procession, I felt awkward. I’d led liturgies before, but my church life and my real life didn’t usually intersect so publicly.
The church of my childhood paid no attention to Lent. The season's words sounded too mystical to us, too strange and too Catholic.
A comment on my recent rush-hour-communion post mentioned the Episcopal Church's recent practice of Ashes to Go, a form of "liturgical evangelism" that has brought congregations out into streets, bus stations, train stations and subway stations to dispense ashes on Ash Wednesday. When I started to read about Ashes to Go, I had many of the same questions that I brought to early-morning communion. At first I thought, ashes to go? Whatever happened to liturgy and community? Aren't we just feeding into our culture's unwillingness to stop for anything at anytime? Can ashes really be offered like a fast food item at a take out window? But once again, in the midst of these restless and protesting thoughts, another reality has stepped in.
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12 (Psalm 51:1-17); 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Ash Wednesday begins the Lenten journey to Jerusalem. It is best not to journey alone.
I am more at home with the ashes of Lent than with the perfect lilies of Easter.