Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Ash Wednesday Blessings: Two Views
"Amen," we responded as Pastor Brian dipped his thumb in a small bowl of ashes and marked a smudgy black cross on each forehead.
The spicy scent of incense met her at the door of the church. She dipped her finger in the bowl of holy water and turned to share it with the monk just behind her. Shy Brother Matthew extended a plump finger without meeting her eyes. They each crossed themselves and slipped into their seats in the choir.
It was a wonderful, cozy, secretive feeling as she thought of bankers and shopkeepers rushing home after a busy day, mothers preparing dinner for hungry school children, farmers milking their cows— all over this little green island the workaday world hummed along to the pace of modern life. And here she was on a verdant hillside in Yorkshire living a life hardly anyone knew even existed. Harry Potter. It was a very Harry Potter experience.
Felicity knelt at the altar rail, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." The ashes were cold, a sooty mark of grief, gritty on her forehead.
"Amen," she responded automatically.
Wishing you all a most blessed, holy and profound Lent.
The choir and cantors had practiced for weeks to be able to sing Psalm 51 to the haunting melody composed by Allegri. The words ascended to the vaulted ceiling; the echoes reverberated. Candles flickered in the shadowed corners. She had been here for six months— long enough for the uniqueness of it all to have palled to boredom— but somehow it hadn’t.
Posted by Donna Fletcher Crow