Today is Ash Wednesday. Not something I grew up with, and even a couple of years ago I was trying to get my head around. Lent, yes, but Ash Wednesday? Being part of a L'Arche community gives me the great growing experience of meeting and knowing Christians of many, many different backgrounds. Where else would I have ever met an Armenian Orthodox or Mennonite in the north of Scotland? And seen them praying together? Such an experience tells me that the fruit of a life ranks much higher than what people say they believe. So...Ash Wednesday has entered my spiritual world as a significant and meaningful day.
We had a simple service at L'Arche, with help from Fr. Mel, an Episcopal priest from the Black Isle. The ashes, he explained, remind us we are human and that one day we will die. The shape of the cross reminds us of the amazing deep love of Jesus, sent by God to save us from sin. And the dust also reminds us we are precious, like gold dust, to the Father.
Today I'm reminded of my humanity and frailty, but also of the depths God's love. Lent calls me to come away and spend time with my Father. Lent in L'Arche reminds me this also a joyful time!