Fast Food Ash Wednesday
Today is Ash Wednesday. This day marks the beginning of the Christian observance of Lent. Lent is a time of contemplation, reflection, and repentance as we journey through the prophecy and events of Christ’s death. All this as we prepare for the festive celebration of the Resurrection of Christ.
For today we focus on the start of that journey. Today we are reminded of our own mortality. Today we hear the words “Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you shall return.” These words are spoken to many of us as the sign of the cross is placed on our forehead in ash. Mortality is hard for many of us to imagine.
I pray it is on your radar today as we must face the reality of our coming bodily death. By remembering our mortality we are drawn to the immortal God who longs to welcome us from this world to the next. Today we are reminded of this through the imposition of ashes and somber reflection, But who has time for somber reflection these days? While driving this morning, I heard about a fast food substitute for the Ash Wednesday time crunch on the radio.
Enter the world of the Drive-Thru-Ashes. These express lanes are popping up in more than just one or two places this year. After looking online for more information, I found several churches across the country that now offer this fast food method of imposing ashes.(This was happening way before the covid shutdown) To say I have mixed feeling about this is an understatement. I like the idea of making this “reminder” available to the masses, but my greater concern is the motivation to “drive-thru.” Does the person in the car do this out of some obligation to check something off their list of things to do today? Do they do this out of an attempt to please God, or worse yet, not to make God mad?
We live in a world that has trouble slowing down. But that is what this season is all about, slowing down and reflecting. What does it say when we can’t slow down long enough to begin to slow down? I feel for the single mom or dad who is working two jobs, does not have time to attend Ash Wednesday worship, and wants the reminder of this day. These people are the small minority who would use this drive-thru.
Life is full of choices, and we, the people of God, need to start making some hard choices about our time. We all need to learn to slow down long enough to Ponder God. This will come at the expense of some things on our calendar. There might even be some pushback from others. Doing the right thing has never been easy, but doing the easy thing has seldom been right.
Take time to slow down in these 40 days and do some God Pondering, and I promise you that you will be glad you did!
<>< Pastor Craig
Something to Ponder: How am I willing to slow down during this holy season?