The liturgical traditions of historic Christianity are quite foreign to me. They were never part of my childhood experience, and yet I awoke this morning with a compelling need to observe Ash Wednesday. A feeling of humility and repentance stirred within me and inspired me to live more faithfully to my divine purpose. The Creator has given each person a gift; he has given ME a gift, and yet so often I find myself distracted by petty concerns.
For many people, Ash Wednesday begins a time of ritual mourning, but I see this season as a process of refinement and dedication. This Lenten season, I surrender my casual approach to divinity; I set aside my personal distractions and re-dedicate myself to the Creator's design for my life.
The congregation at Saint John's Episcopal Cathedral welcomed me into their Ash Wednesday service, which was a deeply moving experience for me. I felt the presence of God in the symbolism and the words.
As an interesting "coincidence," I met one of my readers right in the middle of the ceremony. At about the mid-point of the service, the priest invited the congregation to turn and greet those seated nearby. The people clasped hands and said, "The peace of the Lord be with you." A woman seated in the row before me turned and recited the blessing of peace, and then her eyes widened. "I know you!" she said, "I've seen your face. You're Sulustu, right? I read your blog."
We exchanged greetings and then she said she likes my blog because I write about people and their real experiences. (To you, my fellow penitent at Saint John's, if you're reading this, I bid you peace once again, and hope you will send a greeting to this blog in the comment section).
As I left the church, a downpour of rain began to wash the ashes from my face. Somehow it seemed so perfect, like a reassurance from heaven or a divine approval of my re-commitment to spirit.