Thursday, February 26, 2009

ashes to ashes, dust to dust

So yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the day church goers get a smudge of black ashes on their foreheads. I'm still trying to understand all the reasons behind this tradition, which marks the beginning of Lent.

As I understand, the ashes are from last year's palms (Palm Sunday). Being smudged with ashes is a reminder that we were created from dirt (mud) and that we'll return to the dirt when we die. It's also seen as a reminder of the sacrament of baptism, in which we were named children of God. A third meaning is penitence for our sins.

Nonetheless last night I went to FAPC to get smudged with ashes. It was a weird and new experience for me to say the least. I had no idea what to say as the pastor put the ashes on my forehead with his right thumb. I think that he smiled at my ignorance.