17 February 2010

Ash Wednesday

I was raised Catholic and for much of my young life, Ash Wednesday and the holy days that followed were a consistent part of my faith. I made the decision to leave the Catholic church during college, and although I find my spiritual place among a non-denominational community, the meaning behind the ashes still remains.

"For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
2 Corinthians 5:14-17

I went to mass today and sat by myself in the congregation. Although I attended mass every Sunday for a better part of 21 years, I felt a bit lost in a place that I no longer regard as my own. But the ashes drew me in.

We are all broken. We are all sinners.

We deserve nothing, but because of the Lord Jesus, we have been given everything.

The sermon today was about this church's Lenten theme: reconciliation. There was a photo projected on the wall of a woman mending a torn blanket. The priest explained that this Lenten season should be a time of mending relationships with others, ourselves, and, of course, our Father. We were each given a tiny wooden spool to symbolize our need of mending: "we are called to mend or fix these relationships during the seasons in which we celebrate the dying and rising of Jesus."

"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
2 Corinthians 5:18-21


  1. What a great post!! Too bad you don't live closer, I attend a wonderful church. I've been Catholic all my life, but like you strayed away for a while in my 20s. When we first moved to GA we attended a church that never felt like "home". I think all of us stray at times, even clergy. And it felt like that for that church. After a year we found another one that we absolutely LOVE. I truly felt the love from my church family when my daughter was in the hospital back in Nov. People really cared. It was very uplifting.

    I might have to use that spool analogy for my Sunday School class! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. What a beautiful self portrait! I love this picture Laura!


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