Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ashes To Ashes

Today you get two posts. That's right. For my second post, scroll down and tell me if you think Jesus would go to Mardi Gras.

"We are brought down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground. Rise up and help us; redeem us because of your unfailing love." Psalm 44:25,26

Today was Ash Wednesday. Being Mennonites for most of our lives, we have never been to an Ash Wednesday service. Mennonnites do not celebrate many of the religious days that the so called "high churches" do. So when our friend invited us to go with her to her church tonight, I jumped at the chance, and was really looking forward to it. It did not disappoint. These are my pictures from the evening. We get ashes on our foreheads to remind us that we are from dust and will return there. To remind us how badly God wants us to turn to him and repent. In the Old Testament, men would repent by pouring ashes on their heads or sitting in ashes. Tonight the pastor reminded us that our plans sometimes crumble into dust. And this is often because they are OUR plans, and not Gods. It reminded me of the saying "Men make plans and God laughs". Can you see the ashes on our foreheads? When we went up front to take communion and have the ashes applied, the pastor said wonderful, reassuring words to each of us. He made the sign of the cross. The feeling that came over me was one of reassurance, security, and great comfort. I know what God's promises are to us and that He has sealed us for our inheritance (2 Cor. 1:22-Eph. 1:13,4:30). But somehow, this was a strong physical reminder of that. Almost like God saying to me "It's going to be alright, Ginny." As we left the church in the cold snowy darkness, I looked up and saw a new moon. Like that moon, I felt that I was new, too. But of course I was still the same, so maybe I should say REnewed. All from a few ashes.

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that He may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you-even Jesus. Acts 3:19


SquirrelQueen said...

It sounds like an interesting service. None of the churches I have attend ever celebrated Ash Wednesday or Lent.

Sandra said...

I am once again with you Ginny. I have never been to an ash Wed service. your story of your night brought tears to my eyes and i am so glad you shared your experience. I do remember when i was 18, on my lunch hour I noticed the doors to the cathredral in Savannah Ga were standing open. I had never been in a Catholic church before and decided to enter. as i stood and stared at all the beauty and the soaring ceilings and stain glass with sun shining through, a feeling of peace came over me and i felt the prescence of God. thanks for this post

George said...

I find the Ash Wednesday service to be very moving. I have to say that I belong to a 'high' church and find the services to be beautiful.

Catherine said...

I'm so glad you had and took the opportunity to experience receiving ashes and that it was so meaningful to you. As a cradle Catholic, it is a significant service I "take to heart," yet it's also something we expect to participate in each year. After reading your blog and comments, I have a renewed appreciation for this and other services. So, it appears the benefits are far-reaching.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Being a United Methodist most of my life and now an Episcopalian, I LOVE these types of services. Ash Wed. Service has always been one of my favorite ones. Our church also burns their sins--which is very effective also.

Glad you went!!!!

DawnTreader said...

Hi Ginny
Came to check out this post on your suggestion. I've been to an Ash Wednesday service once or twice. You might say I have one leg in the 'high' church tradition and one leg in the 'low' or free church tradition. I've come to appreciate the rhythm of the church year in the liturgical churches more in later years than when I was younger.