I write this on Ash Wednesday. It is a beautiful day. The sun is shining brightly. The temperature is coolish. The wind is howling.
On Ash Wednesday, many churches impose ashes on the foreheads of members. There are two phrases we use while imposing the ashes. “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.” The other one is “Repent and believe in the gospel.” You should take both phrases seriously, ashes or not!
Ash Wednesday reminds us that we are mortal. It is a call to observe a Holy Lent as we prepare to celebrate Easter. That explains the people you saw on Wednesday who had crosses on their foreheads. Some people had smudges. We are reminding ourselves that we will all end up as dust. That is why the resurrection of Jesus brings such hope. Dust will rise again!
I don’t “doctor” my ashes. There is a recipe for ashes that involves making them darker and more prominent on the forehead. It creates an “ash paste.” I take the ashes from the place where the palm fronds were burned and apply those to the foreheads. In most cases, my cross looks like a smudge.
We did “drive by” ashes this morning from seven until eight. I made a discovery this morning.
One couple from the church stopped by to have ashes imposed. I placed the ashes on their foreheads, speaking the proper words. I, of course, noticed their dog in their back seat. I walked out of the church to go pet the dog. I petted her on the head, and we had a moment.
I thanked the couple for coming and then walked back into the church.
I had carried the ashes to the car with me. I had them on a very flat plate.
Shall we review. Ashes on a flat plate in howling wind. When I got back in the church I looked down at my empty plate. The weather has never been an Ash Wednesday problem. It was a glorious day to impose ashes today. However, Lake Advisory wind and ashes don’t mix. My first load of Ash Wednesday ashes are blowing in the wind.
Luckily, I am so antsy about ashes, I have enough to impose ashes on the entire population of the parish. I reloaded my plate and continued with the Imposition of Ashes. I was circumspect with the ashes and avoided getting too close to the opened doors.
We are disciples of Jesus Christ. As a disciple we are always learning, always growing in our faith as we follow Him.
If you are not growing into and learning of Christ, you are like those ashes, blowing in the wind.