Our Redeemer's Blog

Ash Wednesday: the Meaning Behind the Dust

Ash Wednesday Service: February 10 at 7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary.

And then there are the ashes. Our Christian face paint.

Outrageous, when you think about it. Ash equals garbage, what’s left when something is all burned up, its useful life is over–or just destroyed. Dirty and messy, hard to wash off completely, it gets up your nose and all over your clothes when you try to sweep out the fireplace.

But THIS is what we smear on our faces. A symbol that we are mortals who were born and will die; we have no control over the first event and very little over the second.

It’s like publicly declaring “I know that as much as I can deck myself out in nice clothes and eat, sleep and exercise to stay healthy, on one level, I’m just an animal like any other roaming this earth.”

Ash means: I acknowledge I’m not as nice on the inside as I want to appear on the outside.  I am not invincible; I can be terribly wounded. I am not self-sufficient; I have know loneliness and I have tasted despair. I have had moments when I am panicked by my own emptiness and weakness. I own that I have hurt others out of fear, pride, or apathy. I’m broken.

Ashes remind us and tell the world: Yes., I know that I’m not God.

Ashes to Go

We recognize that not everyone can make it to a service, or is even comfortable attending church. Yet the beauty and simplicity of “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” is recognized by many people, and can be a spiritual gift to receive. We will offer that gift to our neighborhood during peak traffic hours on Wed, Feb 10 (7-9 a.m, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.), when a pastor will be present in our parking lot for people to swing through and receive the imposition of ashes. Feel free to invite your friends and neighbors.

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