I'm really jazzed for tonight's Ash Wednesday service at 747. B-Buss, ever-flowing fount of creativity, really out-did himself this time.
Just as a heads up for my non-ashy friends, Ash Wednesday signals the beginning of the season of Lent, a season of preparation that leads up to Easter (similar to the way that Advent leads up to Christmas). It's a contemplative time, during which we are honest with ourselves about the way that we are in the world, in relationship to God and our neighbors; a time that we take to re-align ourselves with the Love that gives us new life. Today we are invited to cast into the fire all that holds us back from responding to this Love with grace and justice: our self-hate; our mistrust; even our dreams of immortality, for the recognition of our mortality keeps us honest and faithful to God here and now. All of this is burned away to ashes, which is why you see folks walking around with ashes on their forehead-- it's a good reminder when they look in the bathroom mirror.
Incidentally, the Taizé Book of Common Prayer calls Lent "a celebration of the joy of God's forgiveness," which (in my mind) calls for a dance party! ...OK, I was really looking for a good reason to play David Bowie's hit "Ashes to Ashes." Actually, because of some silliness on YouTube, no David Bowie videos can be embedded, so the version below is the cover by Tears for Fears. Still, it's a pretty good one.
And, if you haven't seen the David Bowie episode of Flight of the Conchords, you absolutely must.
Walking in the Ruins
5 weeks ago