Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ashes

I have ashes on my forehead.

We had an intimate, experiential Ash Wednesday service tonight at our little church.  A little media, some hands-on prayer stations, some meditation time.  It was nice.  I didn't get a lot of reflecting or meditating done, having a toddler on my hip, but mothering is its own kind of worship, so I didn't feel bad about staying back and observing for most of the night.

But the ashes... I wanted them.  I wanted to be marked, to join with the rest of the Church in this observance.  The truth is that sometimes I'm hanging by a thread to this thing we call Christianity.  Last December, the night after Newtown, Mumford and Sons' "I Will Wait" played on my radio as I drove in to work, and I found that I couldn't sing those words out loud, because I didn't know if I meant them.

Two months later, that's maybe the only thing I know, the only thing I trust: Jesus.  Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.
So tonight, when I saw my friend at the back of the sanctuary with a palm full of ashes, I walked forward, toddler wiggling on my hip, and I let myself be marked, let myself be connected.  It took a good bit of strength to look him in the eye as he said the blessing over me and over Joel, to bear up under that kind of Grace.  After all, all I am is ashes.

Yeah, Mumford.  I'm with you.  I'll wait.

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