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.
Lent | Ash Wednesday (Year A Year B Year C)
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
When Ash Wednesday arrived in 2009, my recently diagnosed stage IV cancer had already reduced two of my vertebrae to dust. I feared that the rest of me wasn't far behind.
We're all perpetually longing for love. Fortunate are those who realize early that another human being can't meet this unrequitable need. Even more fortunate are men and women of prayer who realize that peace comes by embracing the longing itself.