It’s Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. A warm welcome to Jekheli Kibami Singh, one of millions of people around the world who received the ‘imposition’ of ashes today.
Jekheli is from the Sumi tribe of Nagaland, India. She is the mother of two boys (2 and 7), and she and her husband Ranjish are both Anglican priests. She is currently a PhD student at the University of Auckland School of Theology.
In my Christian faith, Ash Wednesday is a time to remember death, Jesus’ death, that made forgiveness and salvation available to all who seek it. It reminds me also of the very transient nature of human beings: “you are dust and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). I am reminded of my constant need for God’s forgiveness and my desire to be open to the grace of God at work in all.
Today, I am also thinking of ashes in the hearth in my parents’ home.
In ashes, I imagine fire on which food is prepared and served.
I imagine people huddled around the hearth to keep warm in winter evenings.
I imagine story times when children listen to their parents’ tough childhood days.
I imagine hope, love, grace, forgiveness, acceptance, joys, sadness, and life itself.
I imagine the ember that awaits the dawn for the day’s cycle to begin.
And when the fire is out, the cold ashes that find their way to the garden to nurture the plants.
Today, whether you have ashes put on your forehead or not, whether we are able to fast or forgo anything for the next 40 days or not, may we find renewed meaning and enrichment in our faith journey, this season of Lent and beyond.
Today is the first day of Lent, and we’ve got lots of resources on the blog if you’re interested in going on a Lenten journey of your own, by yourself or with others.