Ash Wednesday on the Streets

February 22, 2012

During Advent last year, I highlighted several efforts to taking Advent to the streets to make it a more meaningful season (see posts here, here, here, here, and here). Today, more than 70 Episcopalian priests in 18 states similarly took Ash Wednesday to the streets to minister to people who did not attend church services on this first day of Lent. They stood on public streets to smudge ashes on the foreheads of people passing by who wanted the religious sign. Reverend Emily Mellott of Calvary Church in Lombard, Illinois, explained the effort:

The ashes are an invitation, opening the door for us to the practices of Lent, a first step, a reminder of our mortality and God's creative power. We take that invitation and that core truth out into places where people really need that. ... People who come to church already get the forgiveness thing. ... But people at the train station going into a full day, to all the places where we fail and realize we are not perfect. Now they can start the day with a reminder that that is not the last word.
Amen! This interesting effort comes with some deep theological implications.