February 21st, 2007


Acknowledgin' and bewailin'

We had a nice Ash Wednesday service tonight. Ashes, communion, and all the heart-breaking, old words people remember from long ago.

Personally, I'm glad that we aren't all draggy and somber these days when we take communion. I like joy, thank you very much. That said, there is a time and place to be solemn, to meditate upon our sins and our mortality. I find that that all naturally comes together on Ash Wednesday. And the old back-of-the-hymnal service, taken almost verbatim from the old Book of Common Prayer, which was simply Cranmer's update of the Sarum Mass, is just what the Great Physician ordered.

People were moved deeply. It showed in many ways, not least the hugs and handshakes as they left. But then, the old words are just the perfect balance between what my heart needs to say to God and what I need to hear God say to me.

I didn't preach. You don't have to. The Scriptures say all that need to be said, and the liturgy carries you along. It was good to be in the house of the Lord this evening.

P.S. Neatest of all is that there were three little boys in church tonight with their mothers, two of whom were new or nearly so. It was neat to sign their foreheads in ashes, then serve them communion.