A Smudge

What are those on your forehead?

What are you giving up?

Two questions you rarely hear asked except for one day out of the year- Ash Wednesday. People often ask what I miss most about serving a congregation- there are many things- but one thing that always surprises them is when I say “Ash Wednesday.”

ash Wed

I love the act of mixing ashes- the oil, the ash under your fingernails, the smudges you leave everywhere. I also like that, at least for one day, we can sit with and reflect upon the ways in which we “miss the mark.”

Ash Wednesday, which begins the season of Lent, tells me that we are desperate to live our lives authentic to who God has created us to be. I know this because why else would we be willing to face our brokenness? Why else would we be willing to face the brokenness in our world? And, why in the world would we allow someone to smudge the sign of the cross on our forehead?

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told those present to be careful not to play a role in front of God. Don’t spend your time being someone you have not been created to be. Spend your time working on being who God has created you to be. I love what Joseph Campbell says, “the spiritual imperative to be ourselves is so strong that the soul would rather fail at its own life than succeed at someone else’s.”

 Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust

With a smudge, a new journey towards the cross and resurrection begins. A journey towards being the people whoGod has created us to be.

 

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