today is the day of ashes. today is the day where sins are spoken aloud for the sake of repentance from Dark and a purposeful turning toward Light. today is the day when fingers brush against foreheads and the sign of the cross lays plain in a darkened smudge upon skin. tradition speaks of palm fronds from the previous year's Palm Sunday celebration being used to create the ashes. it's cyclical, symbolic if not literally done.
the ashes are made by His coming.
this phrase evokes a holy hush within my soul. sins are spoken and forgiveness is sought, and the ashes are smeared in the shape of the instrument that smothered the air from His lungs as His life drained out. for me. and the ashes were made from the waving fronds of the King's entrance into the city.
when He comes, the Darkness bursts into flame. the blackness becomes Light and redemption is spoken in a voice once whispering but now rising in volume. that is what this season is. it is a whispering start that lifts and intensifies with each passing day. this season is not about what you are giving up, it is not about forty days of enduring life without internet or caffeine or breakfast.
this day is the calm that settles before the storm. this season is the rumble that comes to alert all who hear that there is a bursting coming, a breaking forth unlike any other.
so this year, I am pursuing Lent with an air of anticipation. I am leaving shame, expectations, guilt, self-loathing, and scarcity on the skull-shaped hill. I am wearing the ashes on my soul because they are a reminder that darkness is brief and that Water is stronger than dirt.
this is the day of ashes. this is the day of repentance. this is the day of heads bowed to the floor, ears pressed flat to the earth, listening. this is the day of the whispering.
my Deliverer is coming.
my Deliver is standing by.