Ash Wednesday has become one of my most intense days of the year. I started doing Ashes to Go in the morning because CFC is the perfect church for it with our driveway in the front. (Some clergy are against doing Ashes to Go because they believe this solemn ritual shouldn’t be done outside of a formal worship service, among other objections. To that I say, hello, it’s 2020 and get a life! People are swamped and not everyone has time to go to a worship service in the evening.) For those who appreciate the ritual imposition of ashes, it’s powerful to receive them on your way to work. Every year I have people who sit in their cars with tears in their eyes or big smiles as they say, “Thank you so much for doing this!” It’s a ministry I can provide to Colchester.
After Ashes to Go, I went to Harrington Court to impose ashes. It ends up that Protestants who observe Ash Wednesday needed a Protestant Minister to offer ashes, and I was happy to be asked. Ash Wednesday is an acknowledgement of our mortality, that none of us will live forever. “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Ash Wednesday literally rubs our faces in our own mortality and that’s not exactly a comfortable feeling. But what better place to offer ashes than where many people are in the second half of their lives? The imposition of ashes reminds us that indeed life is a gift and we are dust—and to dust we will return one day.
Finally, we had our worship service at CFC in the evening and this year’s Discipleship Class helped lead it. The day ended with Evan, Elliot, Jack, Ryan, and Ava reading liturgy and prayers, people receiving ashes in our own sanctuary, our choir offering special music, and Communion offered for everyone. It was a long day, and a good day with the marking of ashes and saying “remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return” to God’s beloved children throughout Colchester. In the end, Lent has begun, and may this holy time be meaningful for you.
(This Week’s Thoughts 2.27.20)