Ash Wednesday (March 6, 2019) marks the start of Lent, a season of repentance during which–by God’s grace–we seek to put our spiritual houses in order. Lent is walking the way of the cross with Jesus. Easter celebrates the resurrection to new life.
Our congregation observes Ash Wednesday. We read Scripture, sing hymns, and pray. Folks come forward, and I mark them with an ashen cross on their foreheads or hands.
Where do we get the ash? Traditionally, Ash Wednesday ash comes from burning last year’s Palm Sunday palms. When I make my ash, this is the procedure I follow:
1. Remove stems from dried palm fronds. I reasoned the stems might not fully disintegrate.
2. Line a terracotta flowerpot with aluminum foil. The foil protects the pot and keeps the ash pure of any leftover dirt in the pot. Place fronds in pot.
3. Light fronds. They go quick. Try not to drop the match in.
4. With a stout stick, grind up the ashes.
5. The result is a fine, black powder.
6. I mixed the ash with a few drops of olive oil and tested on my lovely assistant. It works!
May your Ash Wednesday and Lent be blessed and meaningful.