Marked with the Cross of Christ

 

I was able to attend an Ash Wednesday service this year.
Ash Wednesday
It looked much different than usual.
Registration required. Temperatures taken at the door. Masks on throughout the service.
Even the imposition of the ashes was different: the pastors used Q-tips instead of their finger.
But I was able to attend an Ash Wednesday service this year.
I didn’t know if that would happen.
So I choose to be grateful for what is rather than grumble about what is not.
When I went forward to receive the ashes from the burning of the Palm Sunday palm branches upon my forehead, the pastor looked me in the eyes and told me, You are marked with the cross of Christ …
the cross of Christ
Marked with the cross of Christ.
It overwhelms me every year.
Because, God help me, I forget.
I forget that I am marked with the cross of Christ, forget that the cross should be the center of everything, forget that my whole life should be cruciform.
Every year I am reminded, and every year I forget again.
The whole of my life should be a sacrifice, a laying down of myself, a turning away from the world and a turning towards what Matt Papa calls the blazing center.
My heart is fickle and forgetful and I desperately need this Lenten season every year to turn my heart back toward the One to whom it belongs.
marked with the cross of Christ
I am grateful for a Father who knows what we need, who graciously centers our lives around communal rhythms that continually remind us of who we are and whose we are.
If you, also, need the reminder:
You are marked with the cross of Christ.
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