“Ashes, ashes, we all fall down”
As children we played “Ring around the Rosy” and sang those words, notprobably knowing the somewhat somber meaning of them. For us, they were justthe words of a children’s game and we sang them with smiles on our faces.Lent begins on February 25, Ash Wednesday, so called because Christiansare reminded of their humanity by wearing ashes on their foreheads. In the liturgyfor Ash Wednesday in the Book of Common Prayer, the ashes are imposed withthe following words:
Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall re-turn.
Well that’s a bit of slap “upside the head” if there ever was one. It kinds of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? The season of Lent, when we prepare ourhearts, minds and spirits to celebrate the great festival of Easter, is a time forstock taking; for looking deeply inward, even as we look outward in mission.Sometimes we have a hard time putting things in perspective because weare so consumed by all that there is and all that there is to do. On top of that, weare living in a precarious time in our nation’s history. We are troubled by manythings, most of them having to do with the economy, and yet ashes remind us thatall of us have a limited amount of time to live the life that God calls us to. Whatwe do with that life is up to us.Bernie Madoff thought he could “lay up treasures on earth” and he foundout that he couldn’t, or at least he couldn’t and not get caught. Lent is a
e for spiritual soul searching, not in some kind of morbid way, but rather insuch a way as to seek to know and to do God’s will. When we are reminded of ourtrue purpose in life, to “enjoy God”, then we can have a full life. It