A few days ago, we gathered for Ash Wednesday worship. This was a first for HW. Last year, we had just moved into the Pilney space and we were not quite ready. Having another year under our belt--this year we felt it was time to wander into a mid-week gathering. This was my first time as a pastor--first time figuring out where to get ashes, how to mix them, how much or little oil to use, how to construct the service, how to invite people to sit in silence, how to shut my mouth for a few minutes and let it be.
A few observations: We didn't save our palm branches to burn down into ashes. Maybe this year? Except, that means storing them at myÂ house or in another Rubbermaid bin in our corner at the Pilney.Â As a church,Â travel lightly for myraid reasons. Â So, I paid 7 dollars for a small packet, "that's good for 100 heads." "Well, that will just about do it for us." Seems like a lot of money for ashes.
I mixed in a bit of oil scented with frankincense and myrrh left over from last year's Easter service (a tiny jar that didn't take up much space. We do save SOME things.) The scent filled the whole Pilney space. Hmmm. Sometimes death smells...alright.
At first, I put in too little oil. Then as I was trying to carefully drop in a bit more---the contents of the entire jar spilled in. I realized I didn't bring anything to stir/mix it with...so I used my finger. Big mistake. In a matter of seconds, the sweet-smelling-oily-ashes were everywhere. All over my hands, under my fingernails, on the lightswitch in the bathroom, covering the inside of the sink. "Well, now we have enough for perhaps 50 heads."
My favorite moment/reaction was from a three-year-old. She ran up--all energy and wiggles. "Remember you are dust. And to dust you shall return." Then, with a smile as big as the room, she said, "Thank you!" Errrr...you are welcome, kid.Â It's just sort of perfect.Â
Come walk with us through Lent. This Sunday, we invite Jen Holm into the pulpit (wait...what pulpit?). This Sunday, we invite Jen Holm up front to share what, "Go in Peace. Serve the Lord." looks like in her life. Justin Rimbo leads us in music/singing/cantoring. And, of course, we'll eat together.