Rector's Reflection: On Ashes and Blooming
Ash Wednesday this week felt like the first Ash Wednesday I have really experienced in a long time. For various reasons, I have not officiated an Ash Wednesday liturgy in full since 2018.
This week with you, was thus like a coming home, a returning.
At noon on Wednesday, some of you, and some folks from the neighborhood who I haven't met, and folks on-line, began Lent together. At 7pm, with the choir in the transept, three acolytes at my side, and the congregation somewhat full, it felt like a robust gathering. We were together to name our mortality, name our belovedness, name our need to re-calibrate our lives toward love when we are pulled off course; and name the pain and suffering of the world, the weight of the world on our shoulders, the need for gentleness this Lent.
As I drew crosses on your foreheads, I was overcome by a sense of the Holy in the room, in you. "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return" brings to the forefront of the mind that we will one day stand at one another's graves. We will at some point commend one another's bodies back to the earth where God can take the molecules of you and of me and weave them back into the grass, the flowers, carried by the bees to make something new. And until then, we do the best we can. We aim to heal what is broken. We find soft places to land. We seek out the healing light of love and endeavor to expand it.
At Christmas, one of you gave me a wax bulb. It bloomed, and wilted, and was trimmed, and now it is in mid-bloom again. We are people who are dust, we have wilted, and we have been trimmed, and as we begin Lent again, with embodiment, connection, touch, and ashes, I feel we could bloom again.
Yours in Christ,