by Christine Sine
I am ready for Ash Wednesday. I always like to start early as a symbol of solidarity with friends in Australia and New Zealand for whom the day has already dawned.
This morning, I burnt the crosses and palms from last year’s Palm Sunday procession as a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. This is the traditional way that ashes are made for the Ash Wednesday celebrations. They are usually mixed with holy water or oil and applied to the forehead in the shape of a cross as a symbol of repentance. People of all traditions now observe this ritual and services are held in churches of all traditions. You can even celebrate on the streets, outside train stations, coffee shops, cinemas or grocery stores, in some places with Ashes to Go, a rapidly growing movement that offers anyone who is interested an opportunity to participate in this ritual and receive a prayer of blessing.
Lent and Easter celebrates the ultimate gift of God’s love. In my Monday Meditation this week, I asked, What am I afraid of? Today, and as I ponder the season of Lent, I wonder how my fears have restricted God’s love from being expressed in my life: What do I need to give up in order for God’s love to be fully realized in my life?