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Ash Wednesday: Want to share?

Ash Wednesday: Want to share?

If the Prayer Book is a carrier of The Episcopal Church’s theology, today’s/tonight’s rite marking Ash Wednesday and the entry into Lent 2012 should have been a liturgical doozy.

What did you hear, see, read, say, touch, or sing that caught your eye or brought you close to God? Where were the “thin places”?


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One of my wonderful moments was returning home late in the evening from services to hear, to my great surprise, that a presidential debate had been going. That some of the world stopped in the midst of all the daily hurly-burly of life to mark the moment and receive the ashes, and some didn’t stop. I’m not saying the latter group isn’t holy or worthy; I just mean that somehow it struck me as poignant in a way I can’t really explain.

Torey Lightcap

Pamela Shier

After I completed the imposition on all my parishioners I was the only one without ashes on my forehead. I knelt before the youngest member of our group and this six-year old solemnly blessed me with the sign of the cross and a murmured “You are dust.”

Derek Olsen

Imposing ashes on my 6 year-old daughter really brought it home for me this year.

Any service that shocks us out of our materialistic insulation and makes us confront the realities of God’s creation and the cycles of life and death found within it is a good thing in my book.

The Rev. Alex Large

I thought this was a great homily by a priest in Diocese of Newark. Text of homily on link

Alex Large

barbara snyder

I went to a simple said noon service. It was, I agree, “just about perfect.” The Litany of Penitence is a wonderful yearly reminder of what’s really going on, however much I might try to pull the wool over my own eyes most of the time. And Psalm 51 is a wonderful hyperbolic lament – just right for the day.

The thing that moved me most this year was this section, at the end of the liturgy:

“Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us;

Favorably hear us, for your mercy is great.

Again I marvel at the church year, and its ability to address all the things that human beings experience in living life – and all the emotions we experience, too, from heights to depths and everything in between. The best thing about Ash Wednesday (and Lent) is that it brings me up short again, and surprises and shocks me out of complacency. And what could be better, I think, than starting out – again! – on a long, fascinating journey?

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