Ash Wednesday in the Year of our Lord, 2013.
For liturgical Christians, and you know who you are, it is the beginning of the 40 days of Lent, the season of the church year of walking with Jesus Christ as he eventually rides in triumph on a donkey in to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, only to be betrayed by Judas Iscariot, crucified on a tree on Good Friday, and on the third day rose again and now sitteth at the right hand of the Father on Resurrection or Easter Sunday.
The Anglican/Episcopal service of Ash Wednesday is very moving and reflective indeed.
When the ashes are imposed on the forehead, as you see in the photo of your humble blogger above, the following words of imposition are said:
Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
It really hits it right on the head. That we are but born and die. And when we die, we go back into the womb, so to speak. We are buried in the ground, for the most part. Many look to cremation, the ultimate of being dust. Some are laid to rest in a wall. That is what I wanted until I realized, that will be way too much money.
At the end of it all, we are but mere mortals.
But if you go further to the link of the Book of Common Prayer, 1979, the Litany of Penitence is, well it really hits home for me in many ways.
Here are some of the prayers that strike a chord in my heart:
We confess to you, Lord, all our past
pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives,
confess to you, Lord.
Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy
more fortunate than ourselves,
We confess to you,
Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our
commend the faith that is in us,
We confess to you,
Tell me now, has not one of these things you have done? Whether or not you are a believer, you have at one time or another been unfaithful, prideful, vainglorious, a hypocrite and impatient. And yes, we have all had those moments in which we are jealous of those who have more than us. Or so we perceive. And even the most faithful of us often forget who to give all the glory to and that is God.
It is why we Christians need this day, this day of Ash Wednesday. To remind us of our shortcomings. To remind us that there is the hope of repentance. And most of all, that we are mortals. That we are born and we will die.
Remember that we are dust, and to dust we shall return.