Some thoughts on offering Ashes to Go this morning...
Standing on the corner as traffic crawled by
slowed by commuter volume
and by the need to check out why there was a gazebo
at the edge of the church lot.
People passing on foot, intrigued by the sight
of a priest sheltering from the rain
surplice flapping in the squally wind.
“Ashes to Go” declared the sign -
an explanation for some
perhaps dredging up a distant memory
of church ritual from days gone by.
Or a deepening of the mystery for others
with no point of reference
to the Christian tradition of Lent.
Still, it was good to be there.
To witness to the presence of God
in the midst of life.
To acknowledge that there is no distinction
of sacred and secular
but that each life
and each moment
is beloved of God.
And, in donning ashes,
encountering the Christ
whose call to repentance
is a call to freedom,
a shrugging off of conformity,
a release from living up to expectations
an invitation to experience grace
that arises from unconditional love.
May these gifts received
in the symbolism of a smudge of ash
overflow into all the days of Lent and beyond.
Ashes to Go indeed!