A Word from the Pastor:
Ash Wednesday is hard. It is profoundly awkward to mark one another with ashes: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Every year I am taken aback by the oily black crosses smudged on the foreheads of babies and our oldest members, on the heads of young adults with their hopes and dreams, on the heads of spouses and colleagues, black crosses on those carrying in silence the burden of illness or addiction, smudges of ash marking endings that are beginnings and beginnings that are endings.
The meaning of the day is not to leave us standing in fear or shame or shock or despair, covered as we are in one another’s ashes. The day is not about judging us into obedience, or trying (again) to change or to get it right.
Ash Wednesday is about putting our life and our death into God’s hands. We simply take all that we can name and all that we are afraid to name; and we bring it to God. “All of this we commend to you,” we pray. One poet (Jan Richardson) says:
“Did you now know what the Holy One can do with dust?
So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking we are less than what we are
but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
and the stars that blaze
in our bones
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear. “
Ash Wednesday is about our God, who is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. It is about our God who takes us, with whatever we bring into the day’s worship, with whatever we face and whatever our path when we leave, and gives us a new way forward.
in and through Christ,
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
CONNECTING THROUGH GRACE
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Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Rocky Mountain Synod
ZION EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
1070 Foothill Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84108