Have some ashes: Ash Wednesday
Job took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes. (Job 2:8)
Ashes are associated with repentance. They make you humble, as you get down and dirty with them.
Busy lives in our culture symbolize purpose, forward movement. We readily honor those who have appointments and commitments.
Ash Wednesday and Lent invite us into a full stop. Full stop in grammatical terms means a period, as in the end of a sentence. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_stop
I want to put more full stops into my days, to pull me out of whatever makes me busy, and to consider what’s important.
I think people like getting ashes smudged on their foreheads because it is an antidote to false security, and the illusion that lives are forever. The cross on the forehead is like getting a full stop, a period, so that we can consider what’s important, like breathing.
And take in the breath of God, the spirit blown into the first human in the creation story (Genesis 2:7). Take on the cross of Christ, so that we may die to sin and rise to newness of life (Romans 6:4).
Have some ashes. You’re only human. Baptized dirt.
Welcome to Lent.
Tags: Ash Wednesday, ashes, Lent