A New Way of Looking at Old Traditions

     Any other year Ash Wednesday would begin with a solemn service in the sanctuary, complete with the dispensation of ashes followed by Communion’s observance. Unfortunately, this is not the typical run of the meal year, where we celebrate customs in quite the same way. COVID-19 is still a large part of the conversation, and we do not worship in the sanctuary. This past year brought a new thought to our church. We had to reimagine worship while in a pandemic. I hope that, upon closer inspection, we may continue with some of the good things that came out of this horrible time in our history.

     One way we approach Ash Wednesday this year is not to dispense ashes on our foreheads. Instead, each family will receive some ashes in a small container. They should set them in a prominent place in the home, office, or car. When someone catches a glimpse of the ashes, they remember that they are human, and their bodies will be laid to rest, back in the dust. They hold fast to the promise that the perfect lies within each heart will find its way back to the Creator. The image of God that lived within us from the very beginning carries our souls back home. Perfect must return to perfect.

     On this first day of Lent, let us be grateful for our Creator, who gave us life. Traditionally, this day is a somber one, but let us create a new way of looking at things. Could we transform this day into a time to express our joy for taking an active part in this world? Imagine how the heaviness of this day may give way to a celebration. Lent is a time to reflect on mortality, but never does it say that we must stop living. I hope that we turn our thoughts to places of hope and a remembrance that we journeyed through some very dark times. We celebrate that we have seen a great light.

Published by joekmac

I am a pastor in the United Methodist Tradition. I am the Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Belen in the New Mexico Annual Conference. I am married to Cazandra and have two sons with hemophilia.

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