Thursday, February 10, 2005

Ash Wednesday

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday which is the beginning of Lent, the season leading up to Easter. Lent is a time of penitence which continues through Holy Week including Good Friday, the "celebration" of Jesus' crucifixion and then to Easter when we celebrate Jesus' victory over death when he rose from his tomb.

The church I attend is a "low church." We don't often sing hymns, people wear whatever they want, there is no organ, we have no stained glass windows, we don't follow a denomination's rites/rules/rituals or liturgy and our leaders aren't ordained. Our Founding/Senior/Lead/Teaching pastor didn't attend seminary (although he is a featured speaker at many seminaries these days.)

Last night some members of our bible study group went to an Ash Wednesday service at a local Episcopal church. It was the first Ash Wednesday service I've ever attended. It was the first time I've received ashes on my forehead as a symbol of my life coming from and returning to ashes.

I moved forward to the wooden fence in front of the altar and knelt down and closed my eyes. When the reverend touched my forehead with the ashes I felt something powerful. I think it was because I've never been physically touched by someone who has been ordained as a "holy person." Maybe that's not the right description to use, but my point is just that I felt like I was in the presence of holiness at that moment and it was something new to me (that's not to say that I haven't felt like I was in God's presence before, but this was different.)

I'm glad that we went and I'm glad that Kevin behaved and remained quiet during the service. It gave us the chance to observe and be part of the service and not just spend all of our attention trying to keep him quiet and occupied.

And I'm glad that our friends came over to our house afterward to eat pizza and chat :-)

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