“[O]ne of the things we are told when we receive ashes is, “Remember thou art dust, and to dust thou shall return.” Ash Wednesday invites us to consider death, but not just for it’s own morbid and dark purpose…that’s what Valentine’s Day is for (har har har). Rather, Ash Wednesday understands that when we only think about life, we tend to think about what we want to do, our likes and dislikes, etc. When we think about life, we have the tendency to think about who we are.
But when we also consider death, we have a tendency to think about whose we are…that in the final analysis we belong to someone much, much larger than ourselves. When we also consider death, we are reminded that at some point, it really does come to an end, that life is indeed more than a bucket list. And in that knowledge, we are called to something larger in the way we serve and love God and in the way we serve and love one another.
But in order to remember whose we are, we need help. We need the reminder of the ashes. We need the reminder of the Lenten Season. And we need each other as a church community. . . . We need church so that we can get into the guts of these things called life and death. We need the support, insight, and love of the larger community as we all begin this Lenten journey. And of course, we need the love, insight, and support of the God whose we are so that we can live up to the other admonition we receive when we receive ashes: “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.” ~ Tom Gibbons