This past Wednesday many Christian communities celebrated the traditional feast day of Ash Wednesday. Many of my colleagues around the country (and by colleagues I mean Christian leaders of churches of many denominations including Evangelical Lutheran, and United Methodist, as well as our church- Episcopal) were involved in a movement called “Ashes to Go.”
I saw some reports of coffee shop ashes, parking lot ashes, office building ashes, and even drive-thru ashes (with that one you get a tri-fold brochure on the sacraments and a free Lenten meditations book.) What, no toy? But is this too far? Is this cheap grace?
So, I’ve been praying more about this whole “Ashes to Go” thing. If I was called to the hospital to impose ashes on the forehead of a twenty year old with alcohol poisoning from the party the night before, would I go? Yes. But what about the seventy-five year old smoker who, because of his thirty year habit is unable to leave the house because even the walk to church is too far? Yes. And the grandmother who calls about her grandson who is incarcerated in jail because he beat his daughter? Yes.
If I would serve those people who are unable to come to the church, then why wouldn’t I leave God’s house to become the Body of Christ in the world and provide “Ashes to Go?” Are those who are too busy to come to church any less hungry, angry, lonely, tired, captive, or