I Was an Ash Wednesday Rookie (new CTW article)

Here’s an excerpt from a new piece that just went up at CTW, in which I document my first Ash Wednesday service (observed last year) and it’s connection to The Hunger Games 

My First Ash Wednesday

We’ve observed the 40-day (plus Sundays) season of Lent for a few years now, embracing various mild-yet-disruptive restrictions (giving up coffee or soda or sweets) in order to destabilize ourselves and expose the toxic little ways we rely on creature comforts instead of the Creator. Our sacrifices in this season are so miniscule as to be laughable, except that our Father seems only too willing to use our tiny offerings as portals for his grace. Every hunger pang or caffeine craving becomes a holy prompt—pray, trust, surrender. The whole season becomes a bit delicious with anticipation: Easter is coming!

Still, for all our blossoming enthusiasm for the gifts of the Lenten season, Mark and I haven’t known much about the observance of Ash Wednesday. If we had once distrusted Lent as a little macabre, Ash Wednesday—the first day of Lent, which some churches observe with a liturgy of penitence and a ritual of ashen crosses—seemed to be the darkest of all possible holidays. And yet, last year, we found ourselves searching web listings for a church in our area with an Ash Wednesday service. I guess we figured that if we were going to do Lent, we might as well show up for the opening ceremonies.

We read about a church offering an evening service in a neighboring town and set about trying to find it on a night both dark and rainy. We got lost, we argued, we considered just heading home and watching the hockey game instead. But, somehow, we managed to persevere, and, wet and grumpy, we snuck into the service 20 minutes late …


Blessings on your Lenten season, friends – and find an Ash Wednesday service if you can!


2 comments to I Was an Ash Wednesday Rookie (new CTW article)

  • Carolyn, I think I was pondering the idea of attending an Ash Wednesday service before I read your CTW piece. But I’m pretty sure that reading your piece was like 80% of the reason why I actually ended up down at the Presbyterian church last night. I was really blessed by the service itself and secondarily blessed by stepping outside my bubble to experience liturgy in a way my home congregation doesn’t swing. Thank you! ??

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