Friday, February 19, 2010

Ashes from this lay perspective...

There seems to be a big flap about clergy meeting people at public venues like the subway to give them ashes without the liturgy that normally accompanies Ash Wednesday. There are opinions here and here and here and here. I find the Ash Wednesday liturgy especially moving whether in my former Lutheran or current Episcopal setting. Part of the flap is the perception that getting ashes without the accompanying liturgy is meaningless, symbolic of the superficiality of today's culture. I have mixed feelings about it. While I agree that something is missing, I believe that those who sought the dirty forehead still have some connection to faith in spite of what many are doing to alienate people from Christianity. If there are clergy who are willing to get up at the crack of dawn, endure nasty weather and provide even this almost remote connection to the Gospel to anyone who asks, they should be celebrated or at least thanked. Who knows how many of those folks will one day return to a parish? No matter how tenuous, the connection needs maintained somehow.

2 comments:

GIMR said...

I agree with you. I didn't get a chance to go to church this past Wednesday, and I do miss the connection I once had. If there were a clergy member out on my route to work offering to annoint my forehead with ashes, I would have gladly done it, and been very appreciative. Yes, the connection needs to be maintained somehow.

Paul said...

I agree with you.