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the beautiful thing about ashes

Yesterday I wrote about where the ashes from Ash Wednesday come from: they’re the burned remains of the palm branches used on Palm Sunday the year before. Ashes are the product of destruction and death and demise. Ashes are ugly and useless. Ashes smear and stain. Ashes are dark and dingy. Ashes scatter and blow away […]

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ashes, ashes: what Jesus really came to save us from

Last night I went to St. Gregory’s of Nyssa, the small Episcopal church a few blocks from my house.  The small sanctuary was glowing with candles, and it was completely silent. People entered and silently filtered into their seats.  We nodded to acknowledge each others’ presence instead of greeting each other out loud. At 7 […]

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simon says

Every year when Lent rolls around, I anticipate Easter, but I dread the six weeks in between — weeks that feel more like deprivation than anticipation. I solemnly put ashes on my forehead on Ash Wednesday, and then decide to fast from something for 40 days. To me, Ash Wednesday feels like Groundhog’s Day, if […]