Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ash wednesday

.::Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris::.
“Why all the ashes?”
Because ashes are a sign, they are a reminder, and ashes are an invitation.
Archaeologists tell us that the people of Israel were not alone in using ashes in rituals of purification. Ashes appear in Phoenician burial art and Arabic expressions. Ashes were a sign of grief, mourning, humiliation and penitence. When Job loses everything, he sits among the ashes. Cursed and overrun by enemies, the Psalmist “eats ashes like bread, and mingles tears with drink.” Ashes are what are left after destruction. After chaos or catastrophe, ashes are what remain.
Ashes also remind us of a common origin. Various Creation stories from around the globe including the second chapter of Genesis (you know from the Bible, the out-of-print bisexually-themed erotic thriller that borrowed from a little bit of every other religion of importance during its compilation) that tells of how we were created from the dust of the ground. Though we may spend our lives trying to distinguish ourselves from others, running after success and trying to feel different from others, the dust and ashes remind us that we are all made of the same stuff. We are reminded not only of our beginning but also of our end. On the First Day of Lent, ashes are imposed with the words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Those words apply to us all.

Totally Goth- I dig it.
While ashes may signify and remind, they also invite. They invite us to repentance. They invite us to turn again to our God or Gods and to receive new life. Isaiah brings glad tidings to the people of Israel, “to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning.” Ashes are not the end but are just the beginning. They begin a season that moves us through silence and longing into a season of joy and resurrection.
Totally pagan- I dig it.


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1 comment:

senate.side said...

Cher Cornichon
Sounds like you had loads of fun during this year's Mardi Gras. That's one of the things that make all the rest of us like you so much --- you know fun and fun knows you. I assume all your friends down there in NO were well entertained.
Cheers and ciao,
Senate Side

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