[Delayed Post – written February 10, 2016 – Ash Wendesday]
We walk through the doors of the Sanctuary and sit in the quiet, many of us wearing the symbolic black of this penitent season, and look unto the cross. It is the threshold of Lent.
The Ash Wednesday service is humble, stripped of vanity and noise. But there is indeed a beauty that is undeniable. Not the kind of beauty by which we seek to be entertained or fulfilled, but the kind of beauty that calls for our transformation. The beauty of holiness exposed and uncluttered.
There are no microphones, no music, no bells… and the silence is surprising. It is not intimidating like you might anticipate when you are coming with your sins all a-clatter. The silence is gentle. The silence is grace. It is grace washing away the chaos of all our distractions, vices, excuses, and pleading.
We come to listen. We come to confess. We come to remember that we are dust and to dust we will all return.
We accept the ashes of our humanity, but this is not the end of our story. Throughout Lent we will enter our darkness that we might look with new and deeply grateful eyes toward the rising of the Son.
Thus we filed quietly down the isle to receive the cross of ashes on our foreheads and concluded the evening with the receiving of communion- the reminder and hope of life through the sacrifice and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
As my pastor, Jay Holsted, so wisely shared this evening,
There is enough hardship to keep us from presumption;
And enough grace to keep us from despair.
Thanks be to God, Thanks be to God.