I’m a Baptist, and we’re really no good at Ash Wednesday, although we need it as much as anyone else. When I was the pastor of a local church, we ended up joining with the Lutherans and Episcopalians for Ash Wednesday. I figured we might as well do it with the people who really know how.
I always find Ash Wednesday services profoundly moving. The Book of Common Prayer says, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” These words are a good reminder for leaders that the efforts, the plans, the programs and even the buildings that we invest so much energy in are temporary. We hope and pray that some of the work that we do will last beyond us, even into eternity. But when we remember our own mortality and our human limitations, we can keep our work in perspective. It’s not about us, anyway.
4 replies on “Do You Observe Ash Wednesday?“
Rhonda, I appreciate your pastor’s response: offering a challenge to you with a promise of support for your efforts!
A few weeks ago I asked our pastor whether we were going to do anything about Ash Wednesday at our Baptist church. “That’s a great idea. Would you plan something? I’ll come, and we’ll announce it.”
Gotcha. Sometimes I shouldn’t open my mouth.
So I enlisted our seminary intern to help plan something and my husband to play the piano; and purchased some ashes at the local Catholic bookstore. With singing, prayers, 2 brief reflections on the gospel reading and Psalm 51, and the ashes, a very small circle of folk marked the beginning of Lent. It was short notice, and a small group, but those who came expressed their gratitude for the opportunity; my need for worship on that day was met by sharing it with others.
This time, I’m glad I opened my mouth.
Impressive and touching. Thanks for the link, Israel. (Note: If it doesn’t come right up, just do a search on “last lecture” at StumbleVideo.)
This Baptist went to his local Episcopalian church for the imposition of ashes and the humbling reminder of personal mortality.
Speaking of which, this video of “last lecture” is an authentic reminder of such. Worth watching: http://video.stumbleupon.com/