Q: What do President Donald Trump, Beyonce, Jimmy Fallon, Rush Limbaugh, Queen Elizabeth, Pastor Dean and you all have in common?
A: Your humanity.
Setting aside everything these people have accomplished, everything they’ve done and everything they have achieved, the thing we share is that we all walk this world. We are physically made of flesh and blood. We are all born, we all live, and we all die. And we are all children of God, and are loved beyond measure.
And these things that unite us are far, far more powerful than any idea or ideology that might divide us.
Ash Wednesday is a day that we remember these important truths.
The cross formed on our forehead out of ashes is a visible sign, a recognition and a reminder:
- We are mortal, subject to forces larger than ourselves. I had a colleague once who had a little, framed, embroidered sign hanging above his desk that said “Remember, there’s only one God, and you aren’t it.”
- Our lives are temporary. We came from dust, and we shall return to dust.
- Our spirits are eternal. We are inheritors of the promise of eternal life. When our time here is finished, we are promised something more, something greater.
- We are called to follow. God asks us to live and follow, not because God’s promises depend on it, but because it’s the right thing to do, and because we can be the hands and feet of God that make God’s Kingdom a reality here and now…and because we can share these promises with each other.
- We are connected. We all wear this cross of ash in the same spot that the cross was made on our foreheads when we were baptized. Then, we heard the words “You have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the Cross of Christ forever.” This shared promise draws us into shared community.
We gather as a community for worship today to share in these things, and to be reminded that these promises all happen because of the great love Jesus has for each of us.
Please come. Receive your ashes. Be reminded not only of “who” you are, but of “whose” you are. Together, we begin the journey towards the crucifixion and the resurrection.
Ash Wednesday worship is at 12noon today (followed by lunch) and then at 5:45pm and 7:00pm. (Dinner will be served from 4:45pm to 6:30pm)
A musician friend of mine, Jonathan Rundman, has written a great folk song about Ash Wednesday called simply: “Ashes.” I’ve linked it here. Enjoy!