Ashes and Hope ~ submitted by Krys Clark, Verger

Ash Wednesday is coming on February 17th. With that I thought I would share some meditations on this upcoming day and the start of a new liturgical season.
In the middle of last year’s Lenten season, the pandemic hit. COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. So much has changed. We have traded hugs for social distancing, joyful faces for face masks, and social outings for zoom conferences. Some would say, we have been living within Ash Wednesday and our mortality for most of the past year.
But despite all of this, we are still part of the Jesus movement and we are still Easter people. We still have hope and look towards tomorrow with the promise that we will get through this. There will be a time in the not-so-distant future where we will gather, embrace each other, and break bread together again.
As we move towards a new Lenten season, and an Ash Wednesday that reminds us: “Remember You are Dust and to Dust You Shall Return” (Genesis 3:19); where do you find hope amid your mortality? Is it in the comfort and embrace of a family member or four-legged companion? Or perhaps it is in the safety of your own home or a good book or hobby. Wherever your hope lies, where your focus is, there is warmth and the vision of tomorrow.
Personally, I believe the true challenge of this year’s Ash Wednesday is to take our hope amid the pandemic, the fear, and the mortality in our world today, and share that hope. Go and be a light, a beacon of hope, to others as we begin this year’s Lenten journey.

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