Wednesday, February 10, 2016
104. Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday means we are all going to die. When a priest crosses ashes on our foreheads, he mumbles the words, "Remember that dust you are, and to dust you shall return,” which comes from Genesis 3:19. As a kid reared in a Catholic upbringing I have often found this disconcerting. Youth kept my mind off mortality, and my energy, I was sure, was not go going to give up suspending entropy. Indeed, it is unlikely that a kid will have a death mindset, and yet every year the Ash Wednesday service puts it on my head, physically and symbolically -- I'm going to die. This reminder of death, however, forshadows Christ's death on Good Friday, and hope beyond death as preached in Easter Sunday, when Christ's resurrection is celebrated. This year as I go on my 46th year on this earth, Ash Wednesday, speaks to me more clearly of death and pain, which is no longer a remote eventuality. I will die, as everyone will, sooner than later or later than sooner, but more certain than certainly. It is time to embrace life and welcome its challenges and pains as it is time too to embrace death and welcome its promise of renewal.