Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ash Wednesday and Beyond

So I haven't really used this as a "blog" in the truest sense--certainly not in the recent past. However, I thought that this might be something I take a little more seriously throughout Lent.
Well, here we are into a holy Lent. Yesterday was a long day which started at 5:30am with a cup of coffee from Phoenix Coffee and a 7am service. The whole thing ended then with a 7pm service and Muay Thai. All good actually.
One of the best parts of the day however was when I got to impose ashes on the group of youth at one of the parishes I work in. The have been working on a production of "Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat" and so did not make it to any of the normally scheduled services. This has become a tradition on Ash Wednesdays.
Anyway, one of the coolest things about it was that we each imposed ashes on one another... I know that doesn't sound profound in any way, but I gotta say that for kids who seem to neither really get nor really be interested in the power of sacrament--when they get to participate in a new way, they get it.
I remember the first time I imposed ashes on someone. It was quite profound to pronounce another person's mortality and then mark them in the same place on the forehead that we mark people with the chrism at Baptism and even where we mark them for blessing.
Anyway, I'm sure none of this is that interesting, but what it has symbolized for me is this idea of renewing liturgy. I'm not talking about using EOW or some other supplemental material necessarily--in fact, I would say that I'm not really one for "experimental liturgy" as such. I do think, however, there could be ways in which we can re-introduce certain aspects of our worship which open the consciousness both mentally and spiritually speaking. It's not enough that we continue to talk about keeping on until people catch-up and get it. The fact is, they thought they got it before and they didn't care. So now it is our job as the Church to renew the symbols of our faith--break open the sacramentals and begin talking about the mystery of God...even how we participate in those mysteries.
In all honesty I'm well known for being pretty spiky not only in hair but also liturgy. But the fact is that I became such because there were people in my life who helped me to learn about liturgy in a deeper way. How do we do that now without defaulting to sandals, acoustic guitars and "worship choruses"? I truly believe that our ancient Church traditions are big enough and profound enough to answer the question, we just can't allow the misconceptions and assumptions of baby-boomers to dominate the forum. (P.S. No offense to baby-boomers).

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