So, I told Allen at supper that I hate–just hate–Ash Wednesday services. “That’s because they’re all about sin,” he said. But I don’t think that’s it. I am a woman of errors, well-acquainted with sin.
As a participant, I love Ash Wednesday services. This is the one time of year we have explicit permission to go into the depths of who we are. Since I live there most of the time any way, Lent feels kind of comfortable for me.
No, I think it’s LEADING Ash Wednesday services that’s uncomfortable. It’s really hard to impose the ashes, to remind everyone present–in such an intimate way–that they were born and they will die. I mean, we all know we’re going to die…but to be the one to say so in so many words? It’s not the most favorite part of my job.
The thing that’s humbling, though, is that all those people LET me impose ashes on them. They let me touch them in that intimate way and remind them that they were born, are living, and will die. I guess that part’s nice, to have the trust of the people…but Ash Wednesday…it just makes everything about life and death and our humanness so real. Sigh.
Here’s one thing I really enjoyed today…setting up the sanctuary with Allen. We hunted up the right paraments and banners, assembled the lenten candles, practiced creating the ashes (we didn’t use last year’s palms this time), draped the cross with a purple cloth…the Lenten journey can be rough and solitary…it was nice to prepare for it with my husband, my colleague, my friend. My Allen.
Peace for your lenten journey…