Surviving Ashes

When it was her turn to receive the mark of ashes last night, the young woman looked at me quizzically.  “What if they come off?” she asked.

I smiled reassuringly and told her that it was ok if they come off. In fact, I said, she might even want to wash them off later tonight or in the morning.

I’d never even thought of worrying about if the ashed come off.  Honestly, the most thought I’d given it was how do some people put such a well defined corss on a forehead when I at best provide a crossed-smudge.

We, or at least I, take so much for granted in “churched culture.”

I am going to assume that this young woman was interested in, even hungry for, the presence of God and call toward God of the Ash Wednesday service.  I will pray today, and through this season, that though the ashes are no longer on her (or my) forehead, the reason(s) we had them there will last.

4 thoughts on “Surviving Ashes

  1. I had the blessing last night to put ashes on three infants. The first infant was born on Valentine’s Day. The other two are four month old twins. It was the first trip to church for all of them. It was definitely a humbling moment to place a cross on their tiny hands. It was one of those special moments in ministry that I enjoyed and no one else noticed.

  2. Kevin,
    I bet others noticed. I had the blessing of putting ashes on my 11 month old daughter. The congregation noticed.
    It was so powerful to tell my young daughter that she is dust and to dust she would return.
    All that in the midst of knowing that she is alive today thanks to my wife getting the flu! We went in with my wife having the flu, and as a result found out she was in fetal distress!

  3. Thank you both for sharing!

    it is interesting to wonder what others notice. As those for whom worship is as much work as worship, we likely notice more than others.

    Perhaps everyone should blog, so that we could all know what they notice!

  4. I told my wife that I do not think I could at this point put the ashes on my son’s head. Perhaps I am holding on to him too tightly?

    Thanks for the reflection, I think it is interesting that most of us want to get the ashes off as soon as we can, and yet she was worried about them coming off on their own.

    What a thought….

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