I am responsible for several duties at our church, one of them including the supplies for worship and the featured supply in this evening’s service is ash.
The tradition of using palm for the ash goes back to the 12th century for church rites, but the use of ash as a sign of penitence goes farther back to the prophets of the Old Testament. My experience of rendering ashes from palms goes back only 3 years so I can only speak from that brief history. But each year, after I have collected the year-old palms, burned them and swept them into a tidy pile to be transported to our church and finally poured into a suitable vessel for their use at the evening’s service, I feel properly humbled. That is to say I am generally covered with ashes, competing with the best of the chimney sweeps, and there is no doubt in my mind that it is all very symbolic of the sinner that I am.
My Lenten promise this year is to practice stillness and quiet like I watched my Grandma Brown live. I admire the rules of Zen living and the holy ways of being spiritual in my faith and in others and I find I am often overwhelmed these days. That is my cue to look for more calm and take advantage of the blessing of life. One minister whose works I’d read suggested “less during Lent” in the ways of talking, activities, eating and etc.. That appeals to me and by experiencing more quiet and less noise, I think it is a fine focus for 40 days.
Today my mantra was “One.” Just one thing at a time. And it worked out, mostly. After that, well, it is just Wednesday for me. The recent hatch of chicks has me hopping and the standard farm chores, volunteer-work and housework fill in the other hours.
Peace be with you, friends.
- Ash Wednesday 2012 (mumbailaity.wordpress.com)
- Ash Wednesday: Churches make last-minute calls to ash merchants – Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)
- Ash Wednesday (frstephensmuts.wordpress.com)
- Prayer for Wednesday (Ash Wednesday) (yourdailyprayer.wordpress.com)
- It’s MARDI GRAS!!! (that means Lent starts tomorrow) (biltrix.com)