We at the blog at Sinden.org have been skeptical of the so-called "Ashes to Go" phenomenon in the Episcopal Church for many years. Initially this was because no one else seemed to be skeptical of it at all. At least not publicly.
In the intervening years we are more convinced that the position we have argued is the right one, and we've learned we are not alone in our dislike for this practice.
And Mary Davenport Davis at Vested Interest has also written on the topic this year.
To begin this journey together, I believe that we do have to be physically together, for longer than a brief touch and in more than a one-on-one encounter. When I receive the ashes on my forehead abruptly, on my way from one thing to another, that time and space is lacking, and one of two things happens: Either I dodge the issue and fail to engage with mortality; or it steals up on me as I walk away, and I am left struggling with it alone.
But people love it, I hear. It moves them so much. The fact that "Ashes to Go" is so popular is a clear sign that people are hungry for the church to be more present in their public-facing lives. But surely we can find a more fruitful public ministry? Just because people are hungry doesn’t mean that what we are giving them is the right food.
Davis, Mary Davenport. "Ashes for Here". Vested Interest, 8 February 2016.
We commend the whole article to your reading
Update: See also, "Turn thou us from Sed Angli
Previously on the blog at Sinden.org:
ashes - a garland for, 2014
fire - ashes of a little, 2012
Labels: Ash Wednesday, liturgy, welcoming the stranger
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