Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ecclesiastes Three Twenty

Every year around this time, the Catholic Church and I call a détente just long enough for me to get through an Ash Wednesday mass. I don’t remember why I started going, but I know why I keep going. Every year I am reminded of the utterly astounding beauty of worship through ritual.

Given my progressive Protestant background, using the words “ritual” and “worship” in the same sentence is almost like dropping an F-bomb in the middle of a prayer. Still, the Lord is always quick to note that rituals only become bad when you lose sight of their meaning and purpose. Novelty for novelty’s sake can be just as vain and even more dangerous.

Anyway, I always learn some new Catholic factoid. Last year’s lesson was that Catholic priests really can preach. This year I found out that the ashes are produced by burning the palms from Palm Sunday.

Along with my factoid, there also always a revelation from God. I forget last year’s revelation, which came during the very impressive sermon, but I’m sure it’s written down somewhere. Today’s revelation came with the ashes. I was standing there in line to get ashes and I’m tearing up at all of the beauty and gravity. The guy with the ashes smudges my forehead and says “Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return.”

How amazingly humbling this was. God reminded me that I am just spit and dust formed with his hands, like the clay that Jesus applied to the eyes of the blind man in John 9. And just like that clay, I was made and sent to open the eyes of the blind to God’s love and truth.

So, big ups to the Catholics for another amazing Ash Wednesday. See you in 364 days.

2 Comments:

At 12:43 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger joi said...

Dennis, can I just say....

I LOVE YOU MAN!

God truly has given you a gift, not only to articulate, but to illuminate!

I always enjoy reading your blogs because they shed such a real and pervasive light on issues that we all have.
I'm so proud of you man! I told you you would have a following, keep being used to illuminate!

I really mean it, and could go on and on, but enough of my gushing,lol
I'll save room for everyone else...

Love always, Your sister,

Joi

 
At 3:45 PM, March 03, 2006, Blogger The Black Sheep said...

Thanks Joi, that means the world to me. For real. I love you, too,
Dennis

 

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