Ash Wednesday is a day meant to bring us into deep contact with our mortality. Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return. You will die. Life is fleeting. In the end, only the eternal will last.
For many of us, this is not really a reminder. Death is an ever-present reality. Whether we are dealing with the recent loss of a loved one or our own personal life-threatening diagnosis, we get it. Life is but breath and then you’re gone. Thanks, but not thanks. We’ve already got that depressing reality down.
However, I am not really sure that is what this day is meant to be about.
Perhaps the better thought to consider is how are you going to spend the time you have here on earth?
Lenten practices range from the silly to the absolutely ridiculous, with everything in between. And I am the last person to tell you how you should observe a holy Lent, because I do not know where you relationship with God is.
What I do know is this: God could care less how little soda your are drinking if you refuse to offer your hungry neighbor some food. God does not care how many verses of scripture you have memorized if you never go out of your way to learn a stranger’s name. God will not count the number of chocolates you skip, but God will keep track of the people you ignore in your path who are hurting, especially if you have the ability to help. And though God appreciates quiet times spent together, no length of time in the world will matter if you remain cruel to your family and neighbors.
Getting the picture yet?
Christ cares far more about how you love than anything else. God has shown a love for you that is beyond any measure the human mind can fathom. All that God asks in return is that you pass that love on, out into the world.
The ashes on your body are a mark of just how loved you are, but they are also a reminder that all of us have limited time to share that love with the world. So, what will you be doing to observe this Lent?