Ash Wednesday: Preparing for Bodily Resurrection

Would you like to help your community experience something meaningful to kick off the season of Lent?
We are not simply spiritual beings, but also physical. In the hustle of daily life, we can easily forget the essential role our bodies play in the experience of faith. We are mortal, our bodies fail us, we get sick, injured, tired, and broken. The Christian faith reminds us that because of Jesus, this mortality need not have the final say. We are people who believe in the resurrection of the body, the restoration of our full humanity through Jesus.
On Ash Wednesday we begin a season of preparation and reflection. We prepare to celebrate Christ's resurrection on Easter Sunday by reflecting on our deep need for it during Lent. So, we begin our preparations with the most fleeting and needy part of us, our bodies. By wearing ashes, we bravely face our own fragility and mortality and we repent of the ways we have forgotten our deep and absolute reliance on God for our very existence. 
It's a heavy ritual, but not a hopeless one. In fact it is only in the light of the knowledge of the ressurrection that we can fully look at our own mortality without losing hope. Jesus said,
"Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me." - John 12:24-26 (NIV)
To follow Jesus is to trust him as we face the darkest of places, which includes death itself. Jesus faced death on our behalf, and made a path through it to full life. Now he invites us to follow him into that dark place. We face this darkness by his side and he leads us through it to resurrection, today and for all eternity. 
Because of this, we practice the ritual of repentance and wearing ashes on Ash Wednesday. This year I would like to invite you to consider taking it a step further. Would you be willing to serve your community by helping them do the same?
Participating is simple and you will be provided with ashes to use and words to say. The distribution of Ashes and sharing of this ritual is not reserved only for the ordained clergy. There are two key ways you can participate if you would like.

1) Select a poplar location in the community, ask permission to deliver ashes as people come by, and offer to all who are interested. An example might be stationing yourself at the Food Pantry from 11-1 and offering to those who pass through, or if you work at the school offering them to other teachers and students during the day.

2) Personally deliver them to folks at home. We will be offering to deliver from 9-11am and 1-4pm. The delivery schedule will be finalized the day before.
You are also welcome to receive ashes at a time and location that works for you. A schedule is posted at the link below. I pray this will be a meaningful kickoff to this important season of the church year.

Ryan Rovito

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