Tuesday, February 05, 2008

It's Soooo Dirty

Ash Wednesday...a powerful ceremony. To stand in a gigantic quiet church and say over and over and over again: "Remember, that you are dust and to dust you shall return" while smearing them with ashes in the shape of a cross, is to have our mortality slap us in the face.

That is why I hate putting the ashes on my children. I do not like marking them for burial. The reality of it all causes me much pain. They too shall suffer. They too shall die. And I don't want to bury them. Can't we just run. Can't we just quit and say, "I quit you death. You cause me too much pain."? Run my friend...run as you always have but...

It's soooo dirty. The crosses are smeared. The ashes are falling down the faces, on the nose, into the eyes.
It's soooo dirty. Bearing the cross. Hurting through life following him in His Word and Truth. At times it would be easier to run.
It's soooo dirty. Death. This is a sign of death. And everyone is highly conscious of the sign. It makes the wearers slightly uncomfortable. They want to scratch, but know they shouldn't because it will make it worse. They can see the cross on others and see how each is different, some crooked, others dark and bold, and still others no resemblance of the cross at all. Sloppy. They don't know what theirs looks like, but they secretly hope it looks "nice." Isn't that what we all want? A nice life where there isn't struggle and pain. It sure would be easy to run and quit this silliness.
And when we finally see it, we're always disappointed. It turns out death is never pretty.

It's soooo dirty. I think I like it. The crosses have the pastor's thumb print in them. This is a cross that has been placed upon them by the Man Jesus Christ. They have been marked for burial, for a return to the dust, but they have also been marked in the sign of a cross. They will follow Christ through death, through the grave, and into life.
Why run? It's messy for sure...but the assured promise is worth the reality of the mess.

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