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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ash Wednesday

Our church has an Ash Wednesday service this evening, but because my wife and I are switching off baby duty, I went to a noon Ash Wednesday service at an Episcopal church. The service I attended was small, quiet, and deeply affecting. One thing I like about the church calendar is that it orders our contemplation and experience of the Easter season. We are forced to reckon with our inevitable death. We are faced with our fallen, fractured state. We are provided with the opportunity to reflect, to repent, to deny ourselves. Working our way through our own state and through the events leading to the death of Jesus, the season culminates in dramatic fashion with the power and hope of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

With this in view, we return to today. Ashes on the forehead. "Remember that dust you are and to dust you shall return."

Lord, I am not worthy
Lord, I am not worthy
but speak the word only.

T.S. Eliot, "Ash-Wednesday," Four Quartets.

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