Ashes Galore

Ash Wednesday has come and gone. Once again, hundreds of New Yorkers have entered our church to receive a smudge of ash on their foreheads and to hear the ancient words, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

A recent sermon by a former priest at Incarnation offered an explanation for the crowds that seek ashes. The Rev. Ginger Strickland suggested that they came because they wanted reassurance that it was OK to be less than perfect. That life could have serious drawbacks, that they could be sinners–and it was not an unexpected occurrence that they would need to seek repentance. That the world was fallen–that mortality was part of the nature of things.

Perhaps these folks were also aware of these words from the Ash Wednesday liturgy, the reminder that “it is only by God’s grace that we inherit eternal life.” —J. Douglas Ousley

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