Christians have ritualized the preparation for Easter since the 5th century if not earlier. The ritual of Ashes originated in the Roman Catholic church, and only much more recently has made its way into protestant christianity.* (I don’t remember experiencing it in my own life before the late 1980’s.) What might seem like a small shift of a ritual from Roman Catholic to protestant churches is really indicative of a larger shift in our culture. The boundaries of the old identity markers are becoming more permeable. And so, our UCC church takes the ritual of ashes and we use it in our own way to help people connect with the Divine.
Ash Wednesday will offer us the opportunity for a time of uncluttering the spirit during the season of Lent. We remember once again “…that from which we have come, the beautiful simplicity that lies underneath it all, binding our lives closely to the earth and all creation. We acknowledge what has estranged us from the Sacred and turn again to gaze at the deep beauty from which we spring.”(Kristine Zakarison) Throughout this season we’ll be posing questions related to cleaning out and letting go so we can find our way back to our essence. We’d love to hear from all of you with comments, photos, and suggestions as we begin.
What gets in the way of you connecting with God? Is there an everyday item that symbolizes that hindrance/clutter?
*If you want to know more about Ash Wednesday, try this brief article on BeliefNet