Ash Wednesday

Every year we begin again.

Lent began at 4.50 AM and me getting ready for our 6 AM service. This year we’re using the Eucharistic Prayer from the Diocese of Jerusalem at all Eucharists. It feels good and right to pray with our brothers and sisters in Jerusalem this holy season.

We added our own St. Mary’s version of “ashes to go” to our 6 AM and noon Eucharists. All who wished were sent out with little vials of ashes and prayer cards to share with those who sought an encounter with Christ but might not make it to church today.

I took my ashes to go with me for breakfast with one of my dearest friends at a local bakery. When I got to the bakery, there was only one of the bran muffins my friend and I both prefer so we decided to cut it in half and share it. She remarked that Richard Rohr encourages a type of fasting where one eats half of what one usually eats and prays during the time not spent eating.

Cutting the muffin in half and sharing it was a kind of true communion. We prayed our lives through our conversation. We ended with me imposing my friend with ashes, and then sending her with my vial of ashes and prayer cards to take on her hospital visits today.

I had originally planned to take my ashes to go with me to share at the place where I get my nails done. Turns out that I had my own version of ashes to go as eight of us sat at our little tables, and my ashed forehead started a conversation among largely strangers about where we would worship this Ash Wednesday and what our Lenten practices would be.

At the close of our noon service at St. Mary’s, we only had three ash vials left. I can’t wait to hear everyone’s stories of how they shared God with others today.

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