February 13th, 2013

sin happens

The smoke thereof rises to heaven

Burning old palm fronds for Ash Wednesday is not my favorite liturgical chore. They are very resinous, even when dried out, which means they burn with a stench like old sins. The smell lingers on you afterwards, like a bad conscience that won't go away. And they burn with a surprising heat and take longer to be consumed than you might expect, again not unlike our sins.

So maybe this particular chore is good for me. Before I go into the church and lead others in renouncing their sins, I first have to spend some time reflecting upon my own. At such times, I feel utterly unworthy for my task, but I remind myself that it is only the grace of God in Jesus Christ that will save any of us; and said grace is given freely, again and again. Even to me.