One must tread carefully on Ash Wednesday, because what is called up on this day most centered on penance is at once deeply personal and very core to our being and identity. We are acknowledging that we can’t go it alone. We recognize our limitedness. Together we will stare into our mortality. We will face the fact that we are broken. Ash Wednesday is all about sin.
As we prepare to enter the holy season of Lent, growing awareness of our own sinfulness can begin to weigh heavy on our hearts and souls. The poem Love (III) by George Herbert offers a helpful reminder that God meets us where we are- messy and broken- and welcomes us with an invitation.
“Um, excuse me, but you have a smudge of dirt on your forehead.”
I was thinking about this on Ash Wednesday, and wondering how I could respond if someone mentioned it. A lot of thoughts came to mind, such as, “Thank you, I must’ve forgotten to wipe it off,” or “I’ve been to church because it’s Ash Wednesday.” It occurred to me that neither of these were particularly useful or even an invitation to open a dialogue and help somebody learn something.
Being out of […]