Ash Wednesday. This is my thumb after standing out in front of my church with ashes for most of the day. A few days before I happened upon a discussion in a FB clergy group that was focused upon how horrible it is to offer “ashes to go.” This discussion led me to think about my own “why” I was willing to stand out in front of the church offering ashes to friends, neighbors, and strangers. Was this an exercise that because of its quick nature was devoid of any spiritual benefit? Was I contributing to something unhelpful?
We did not have as many people stop by this year as in year’s past. This I mostly attribute to the rainy and cold weather…I was certainly cold out there! But there was also a benefit in that I was able to have some great conversations.
One gentleman saw be out there, stopped his car, crossed the street, and received ashes. He told me that he used to be active in a church hadn’t been back in 15 years. We chatted until someone else came for receive their ashes. About 45 minutes later he came back, bringing a photo to share with me. He went inside the church, “to see what it looks like.” We chatted some more, until a homeless man who I’d been worried about came by…
I am thankful that the affirmation that this was a good thing to do was “given” to me by these two men.