Dear friends in Christ,
Today is Ash Wednesday, one of the most solemn days of the church year. For it is on this day that we confess all the ways we have failed God and one another, and we promise to do better. On this day, we also remember that God’s desire is to save us. The ash cross that we receive on this day is a sign of all that.
Several years ago, I was in the main public square of Cincinnati imposing ashes. Now I know not everyone loves “Ashes to Go”, and I have complicated thoughts about it myself. But I want to share one story.
A man walked up, seeing us standing there in vestments. We had a signboard that said something like, “Get your ashes today—It’s Ash Wednesday.” This man said, “I always wondered what this is about.” I explained that the ashes are a reminder that we’re going to die, but they are also a reminder that life is a gift. We should use this short, precious life well. The cross reminds us to turn back to God, to follow Jesus.
He said, “That sounds like exactly what I need.” He closed his eyes and looked completely at peace as I imposed the ashes, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” He walked away, in silence. I don’t know what this meant to him, or why it was just what he needed.
I do know this: I need this reminder today, and maybe you do, too. Our prayer is that of the church, “Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence, that we may remember that it is only by your gracious gift that we are given everlasting life.”
Ashes are signs of our mortality, but they are also signs of grace. Our world needs more signs of grace.
Today’s Flash Sale: Walk in Love
Take a journey through The Book of Common Prayer, the Christian life, and basic beliefs of our faith, guided by two Episcopal priests—Scott Gunn and Melody Wilson Shobe. Walk through the liturgical year, the sacraments of the church, habits of daily prayer, and the teachings of Anglican Christianity. See how our prayer shapes our belief and our lives and how our beliefs lead us into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
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