Wednesday, February 25, 2009
blessed ash wednesday
This morning I feel the solemnity of this day in the fatigue of my body. That isn't a bad thing.
Last night at church we offered the ritual of Shrove Tuesday's celebration, though instead of pancakes we had a potluck supper and decorated for Mardi Gras. We included games and concluded the evening with another ritual: burning last year's palms from Palm Sunday to use the ashes for today's service.
It was a full day, beginning with meeting Yolande at the church to start decorating. We had ordered new tableclothes--round white ones, with overlays of varying colors. We put together centerpieces that included beads, inflated balloons and hung them from the ceiling with streamers and ribbon. In between decorating stints I had an appointment in Nashville, then shopped for ingredient's for Ken's "low country boil," his offering for the potluck. I picked up a King Cake, returned to the church and began "downsizing" the palms for easier burning.
We had a disappointing showing for our party, with just 15 people in attendance. Five people who don't ordinarily particiate in events were there (they get a big "hurrah" for coming!), and the burning of the palms, which I had anticipated as a group event to be followed by a closing service of compline, didn't flow at all as I imagined. People trickled out and headed home before it was time for that, and efforts to clean up were underway, so I said my own prayers and took notes for how to promote and organize the event for next year. Still, it was a fun time, the food was good and the fellowship, as always, enjoyable.
Today I begin a Bible study. I have no idea who will come or how many there will be, but it's a start. Tonight we impose ashes on foreheads with the ancient words, "remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return." Another year marked, another cross drawn in remnant ash to bring us back to the humble reality that the poles of life define the opportunity that exists between them.
It looks to be a beautiful day. Thanks be to God.