Thursday, February 19, 2015

Snow and Ashes

The beauty of the fallen snow this week has put a twist on everyone's plans.  Some have still not been able to venture from home since Sunday or even earlier. Some are seeking refuge in Warming Stations in town.  Businesses and schools are closed. Even Ash Wednesday service was canceled at church.

As my day progressed yesterday from being out in the cold searching for folks to using a restaurant as my office I could help but think of the fact there would be no ashes on my forehead.
No ashes - what did that mean to me?

It wasn't that long ago that I really began to practice the season of Lent.  In my upbringing our denomination didn't participate in the season and actually held bias opinions of those who did. But that is not what this writing is about...

I was first introduced to the holy season of lent while living in KY the first time but for some reason it didn't seem to take as strong of a root in my soul as it has since 2008.
I remember Ash Wednesday service  in our little church in WV.  George, our pastor, lovingly painting on my forehead the sign of the cross and saying "From the dust you have come, to the dust you will return".
Last year my dear friend and brother, Louis, imposed my ashes.  Louis and his family have been like family to Tommy and I for many years. I remember him praying over me earlier in the service as well.  There is something special about people you love sharing in this moment with you.  Reminding you that you are dust...dirt...loved.

Yesterday we were to have our first Ash Wednesday service at HOTEL INC.  I had shared with our folks especially our friends who are experiencing homelessness the service time and what to expect for those who didn't know. With the blanket of snow this service was also canceled.  I was happy to sit in on the morning devotion with many of these friends at Crossland church.  To watch their faces as the scripture and devotion was read. To hear their amens. To see them as Christ see them. To see myself as Christ sees me.

From the dust you have come, to the dust you will return....

What is in between?


A life that is lived is full of grace, sorrow, laughter, joy, love, frustration, disappointment, strength, courage, hope, peace, pain, sickness, health, newness, death.


Although for the first time in years there were no ashes on my forehead.  No communion shared. No sermon heard. It does not mean that this beautiful season of Lent was not ushered into my soul. Some folks add to their life over the next 40 days, some take away, some pray more, some fast.  For each person this season takes a different approach but with one common theme - draw us closer to God, closer to Christ who spent 40 days in the wilderness before his death and resurrection.

May we remember "From the dust you have come, to the dust you will return".
Ashes or no ashes
May we remember to live! To not just exist but to live!!!
To walk boldly, compassionately, encouraging each other, to love all of God's creation.

So my prayer today is like the freshness of the fallen snow may Your grace fall fresh on me not only this day but the days ahead.  May I share Your grace with all who cross my path in Your way, in love.

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