Ash Wednesday (or Ash Sunday, as the case may be) marks the beginning of the Lent season, a time when we aspire to make some room for deeper introspection and practices that will draw us into the love and assurance of faith. But sometimes faith can feel not as assured as we hoped for. We can feel “less than,” perceiving that others seem to be able to be “more faithful” in their practices and beliefs.

This Lent, rather than change for “the best,” we’ll seek to gain momentum one day at a time, “to reach for a faith that is never perfect, but good enough.”

Our ritual of receiving ashes will be accompanied this year by placing the small treasures of sprouts and shoots of plants on a transformed and repurposed ladder-garden. This image will remind us each week to spend time tending the things that are beautiful and growing already in our midst rather than constantly climbing and reaching for more–for those things we think we are “supposed” to achieve or have in our lives.

We are reminded in the Ritual of Ashes that we are part of the dust and debris of this earth. Just as things of creation grow but also die in the cycle of life, so too our lives have times of growth and times of decay and death.

Placing the sign of the cross on our foreheads (or hands) with ashes (or potting soil, as we will be using on Sunday) is a reminder of this difficult reality but also a reminder of the presence of God, the grace of Christ, and the power of the Spirit in all of it.

Early Christians were anointed with the sign of the cross on their foreheads at their baptism. This “sign and seal,” as it is called, is a way to remember that we are marked and held as God’s own, through all of the transformations and transitions we face.

With Health & Wholeness

Pastor Gaye

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.