Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Remember That You are Dust...

I was going to go to someone else's morning or afternoon Ash Wednesday service today before I led our own at 7pm. But life got in the way and I ran out of time.

One thing I have noticed in the last few years is that I leave our own service with my forehead clean. Somehow that just doesn't seem right, but there is no one else on staff to go through the ritual with me on the receiving end and the whole thing is too new for this congregation to ask even one of the Elders to help me out.

Tonight about an hour before our own worship service I looked into a mirror and said the words, "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return," and placed the ashes on my own forehead in the sign of a cross.

Now maybe this wasn't appropriate. I would never serve myself communion. But I will tell you the words had a whole new meaning for me as I said them while looking into my own eyes.

Eery. Spiritual.

16 comments:

reverendmother said...

I just got a chill thinking about that. It makes me melancholy to think about you doing that for yourself.

I'm not even sure it needs to be an elder---it's not a sacrament. Could your husband do it? (in the future... though that would be a strange dynamic too)

will smama said...

Chilling.

That was the word I couldn't think of earlier. I realize it doesn't need to be an elder I was just thinking of leadership in the church. As for hubby, I have placed the ashes on his head but not vice versa and I guess since he has been part of the 'parade of parishioners' I never thought twice about it.

Tonight definitely made me think twice about it all and truly that is a good thing.

the reverend mommy said...

A couple of years ago I was doing the thumb in the ashes thing and "Remeber you are dust and to dust you shall surely return. Repent..."

And I did it to both my own two daughters. They both looked at me with soft and trusting eyes and I started to cry.

Blessings on you today.

reverendmother said...

Well I wasn't at all sure, and after I said that I went looking, even firing up the ol' annotated BOO on the web---oh my lordy I'm a geek.

Anyway, couldn't find a reference. But I hear you on the leadership thing.

Songbird said...

I've gone away un-ashed, too, and it is lonely and melancholy.

Alex said...

Check out my post for this evening. I had major pimple-dread when it came to the ashes. I am such a nerd. I would have been happy to be the one to place the ashes for you.

cheesehead said...

Another clean forehead here...sigh.

Leah said...

Beautiful and a little chilling, too! And no, you don't need to be an elder to impose ashes, as the others already commented. Thanks for blogging. I simply blogged the RevGals Ash Wednesday image on both my theology and testimony blogs and this evening I received Ashes and Eucharist. This evening I feel tired and lost and broken-hearted and betrayed. Peace to all, Leah

Listing Straight said...

Oh- The kid thing is so tough- I almost want to turn them away and say, "Sweet thing, you don't need to know about this."

But they do.

HoS put ashes on me this year- the first time in many years.

They're hard to wash off...

Purechristianithink said...

At my last church where I was solo, our organist and I used to "ash" each other after everyone else had gone through the line, so to speak. The first time we did this, it was unplanned. As the last person was returning to his seat, it occured to me that our organist might want to receive ashes, so I motioned her to come up. She did. Then after I had "ashed" her, on the spur of the moment I handed her the cup of ashes and asked her to "ash" me. She was startled, but game. When the service was over, she told me that was the first time she'd ever been invited to participate in the imposition of ashes.

Gord said...

HAving been to precisely ONE Ash Wednesday service in my life I have a rather odd perspective. That one was three years ago when we were doing evening services on the last Wednesday of the month--that year it so happened to be Ash WEdnesday.

AT that service I made ashes available at the front with a little bowl of oil beside. After explaining what the tradition was and why I invited those who wished during the time of reflection to come and mark themselves.

Since AW is not a part of our tradition until recently I found I had more room to play with the how.

Kathryn said...

I was ashed by a toddler this morning, unexpectedly, at the end of the Little Fishes service...Yesterday, WonderfulVicar ashed me - but you know, here it's quite a regular thing for the president at the Eucharist to communicate themselves before they distribute to the congregation. If WV is there when I'm presiding, I always ask him to communicate me, but he doesn't always expect the return favour...I feel happier to receive than to take for myself, but the gift has been given, so I guess its OK really...

Teri said...

HoS here said that before I came he just had the last person in the line do him. I don't know how people felt about that. This year we did each other, then he went to the back to do the musicians.

I keep telling people about your post from last year RE ashes and water = skin burning lye. They had no idea why we used oil!

TheoOnTapintheBurg said...

Next year, call me. I'll run down and take care of your forehead, my friend. We all need ashes.

I put ashes on the foreheads of an entire family yesterday. The mother and son carried the one-year-old and the 3 year-old up to me. The one year old just stared into my eyes as I placed the ashes. Powerful.

LadyBurg said...

Well, crap - I typed in "ladyburg" not theoontapintheburg. Blogger - you make me crazy!!!!!

towanda said...

My best friend at seminary ashed me yesterday in chapel. We always seem to wind up "sacramenting" each other (that's how we put it yesterday) purely by chance (serendipty?) at these kinds of events.