People who come to church already get the forgiveness thing, but we go to the people at the train station going into a full day, to all the places where we fail and realize we are not perfect. Now they can start the day with a reminder that that is not the last word. ~ Rev Emily Mellott, author Ashes to Go
Today is Ash Wednesday, the day that launches the liturgical season of Lent, the 40 days of prayer and repentance before Easter Sunday.
In spite of my wildly eclectic church background, my only church experience with Lent and ashes was during my 3 years in Oregon at the tiny Episcopal church. Somehow, somewhere, I’d gotten the idea that observing Lent was a cross between old school superstitions and New Years Resolutions. To the dear saints at St Matthews, it was something else altogether.
For 3 years, I spent one Wednesday in February with ashes on my forehead. Something radical has been happening all over the county since 2007. From bus stops to subway stations, from McDonald’s to Starbucks, you can find pastors and priest quietly talking to cabbies and consultants, to the weary and the seekers, giving Ashes to Go. The Church is bringing the church to the people.
For some, Lent is a time of prayer and fasting. For others, it’s a time to reconnect with God through revived resolutions. If you’re giving up something up for Lent, may God bless you with an increased sense of Him in whatever you choose to forgo.
For all of us, this could be the time we ask: What are we
giving for Lent this year? Possibly more kindness, more compassion, more patience, more love, more hope, more grace? To all the places where we fail and realize we are not perfect, we can start the day with a reminder that that is not the last word.