Tonight the weather is forecast to be cold and rainy. It will be a challenge for many to get off the couch and leave the warm house to come to church and hear about…well, ashes. For some, Ash Wednesday is a perplexing service. Why would you want to hear the pastor pronounce: “you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Don’t we already know that? Perhaps we do. But like many difficult truths, we often keep the awareness of our mortality at an arm’s length; we try to ignore it and keep our spirits up with more positive affirmations. This is reasonable and healthy most of the time. However, the problem is the awareness of our mortality is always there. If we never confront it, it can make our experience of living shallow and empty because we can’t shut out our awareness of death without shutting out an awareness of what is beyond death. Ash Wednesday is the day, the moment, when, gathered as a community of believers, we look directly at our mortality together. Only after that can we claim that death has no power over us. Together, we recognize our connection to something greater than self, greater than death—the life found in the oneness of Christ.
I hope you brave the weather and join us tonight at 7 pm in the sanctuary. I look forward to sharing one of the most important services of the year together.
Yours in Christ,