Friday, March 03, 2006

Reflections on Ash Wednesday

At our Ash Wednesday liturgies, those words, remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return, were repeated again and again as 100+ people were marked with ashen crosses. I don't know why this year that image has been particularly profound to me. A real counter-cultural ritual, this. Especially moving was marking my wife and 3 year old with that reminder of death. If that doesn't put Lent into some perspective, I don't know what will.

Someone asked me on Wednesday, "how long are we supposed to keep this on our foreheads?" I recalled the inconsistency I felt on past Ash Wednesdays, with Matthew 6 still ringing in our ears ("be careful not to parade your piety..."), while Christians walked around with this cross for all to see. Should we not do as the gospel commands? Wash our faces, and get on with life with our hearts rent, not our clothing/ourward appearance?