Showing posts from February, 2016

It Begins with Ashes

On Ash Wednesday many will gather together, sing hymns, pray, hear the word proclaimed, eat the bread, drink the wine, and have ashes smeared in the shape of a cross on their foreheads. Ashes? Really?! What an odd way to begin a religious season. Yet that is the way many of those who try to follow the teachings of Jesus will mark the start of the forty days of Lent, the season in the Christian calendar that stretches from Ash Wednesday to the Saturday before Easter (not counting the Sundays). We enter this holy season with a smudge of ash on our skin and the words "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return" ringing in our ears. And somehow this strange activity seems... right. For in those ashes and through those words, I am reminded of my own mortality, and my body is honored as more than a vessel for my soul. When the ashes are smeared on my forehead I am reminded that there is solidarity among all of us, even with the Christ (or perhaps especially w