Sherri's Message
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February 10, 2016, 10:48 AM

February 10, 2016

“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
                                                            Service for Ash Wednesday

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
-- Hebrews 10:25

This morning’s news shared a story about places in Buffalo where people could drive-in to receive the imposition of ashes.  I think the intent is good- get out to where the people are rather than expect people to come into the church.  We need to do much more of that.

And I hate to be critical of Sisters and Brothers in Christ who are trying to reach out to everyone. My concern is this: why are these people receiving ashes?  Is it simply because it’s Ash Wednesday?  The reception of ashes is not a sacrament like Baptism or Holy Communion.  It is sacramental in that it’s an action that points us toward the Holy and our relationship with God.  There is nothing magical or special about receiving ashes.

My question is, how are these people who drive in and get a quick smear of ashes hearing the Good News?  In this day and age of “I’m spiritual, but not religious- I don’t like institutional religion” I’m wondering if offering something sacramental without the opportunity to hear the Gospel, without the opportunity to explore why today we are to consider our mortality, without the opportunity to gather as the Body of Christ, is a good thing.  Why encourage people to be spiritual in isolation?

 As we look for ways to reach out to the world, we need to take care.  Are we simply offering the actions without explaining why?  Part of being the Body of Christ is taking time for worship – to put God first.  Another part of being the Body of Christ is to gather together to encourage, teach and hold one another accountable.  Sharing the sacraments or sacramental actions without the community of faith is just going through the motions.

I pray that this Lent we will not just go through the motions, but will take the time to deepen our relationship with Christ and with one another. 

Prayerfully yours,

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