Ash Wednesday reflection, by Mollie — 9 Comments

  1. I read the article and it is great to see that the BJS news blogger knows her theology and liturgy. Great description of Ash Wednesday Mollie.

    Pastor Rossow

  2. And her comment stands out as a great proclamation of the Gospel in opposition to the Priests and others that come after her in the article! Again, Well done Mollie!

  3. Tonight as we were preparing for our Ash Wednesday service, a longstanding member told me that before I came (2005) they had never practiced the imposition of ashes. Several others confirmed that statement. It was beyond belief! I asked the retorical question, “What did you think Ash Wednesday was all about?” There was no response.

    How widespread is the practice within our synod?

  4. How widespread is the practice within our synod?

    I’d love to know! I’ve been a member of four lutheran churches, and two of them (now) have the imposition. It was incredibly moving for me as a worshiper tonight to receive them, then of course we were able to answer all kinds of questions at the restaurant after service. This is the first year that I know of that we’ve done the imposition at my current church; I’m pretty sure I was at the Ash Wed service last year.

  5. The imposition of ashes was not done at my vicarage congregation. That was a sad omission for me personally, but I was the vicar- not my decision. We’ve done it every year since I’ve been ordained and greatly appreciate the witness to death and life that it offers. (And the day that I burn the palm fronds is one of my favorite days of the year. The aroma is great!)


  6. Here in New York, I was amazed at the number of ashes I saw in my workplace, on the subway and street.

    Certainly, not all who got “smudged” have a correct understanding of what they are commemorating, but I think it is a great practice to have one day a year where we wear our Christianity on our forehead for the world to see, without shame.

    I know that is not the primary point of the exercise, but it is a valuable act of public unity among Christians.

  7. I don’t participate in the this. I grew up in Lutheran churches were it was not practiced and I see no real reason to start now. It only came to our congregation in the last 7 years or so.
    I am suffering from a severe cold right now and believe me when I tell you – this cold reminds me with every ache and pain and cough – “dust you are and to dust you will return.”

  8. Marcy — I would call on you to reconsider your opinion on this before next year. My pastors announced this “new feature” at our church in the announcements for the 2-3 weeks prior to Ash Wednesday in their normal “come to our Lenten services” speech. I was all set to be against it. This is new. This is a change. I don’t like change.

    I can’t tell you how emotional it turned out to be for me. Service started, pastor said a few words about what it meant, then invited “those who wish” to come forward. Just standing in line, hearing “from dust you came”, seeing all those other repentant sinners in line with me, I almost lost it when I got to the front of the line. I had to close my eyes to keep from crying, and stumbled away after the imposition. The remainder of the service was also very moving for me.

    This is not of course to say that everyone has to be emotionally affected or that’s what we are looking for, but .. for me personally, I went into it with an attitude that I wouldn’t like it, that I was just going to sit in my seat and not be one of those who “wish” to receive it, and it turned out that God was just calling me to a new experience in my life.

    I’ve been “imposed” (is that the correct term for receiving the “imposition of the ashes”?) once or twice previously, but it wasn’t anywhere near the same. The church was much more liberal and somehow it just didn’t mean what it did last night.

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