Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the penitential season of Lent. I plan on taking Babykins to church tonight. Since we missed last year’s Ash Wednesday service, this will be the first time the ashes will be put on Babykins’ forehead.
For those of you unfamiliar with Ash Wednesday’s namesake, there is an imposition of ashes on congregation members–typically smeared on the forehead in the shape of a cross. The ashes remind us of God’s promise to Adam after the fall into sin, “for you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” (Genesis 3:19b). Likewise, being covered in ashes is an ancient Christian practice of repentance.
Truth be told, I’m not looking forward to Babykins having the ashes put on her forehead. It’s a terrible reminder that she is a sinner just like me and will someday die.
But it also reminds me that my fervent prayer for her isn’t simply for her physical health and comfort, it’s that God keeps her steadfast in the Christian faith–the faith that Jesus Christ died for those sins and that she is covered in Christ’s sacrificial blood.
In 47 days, I will sing of Christ’s resurrection and victory over eternal death. However, tonight I will mourn of my sin and my daughter’s sin and cry out to God to have mercy on us poor, sinful beings.
The last funeral my husband had occurred the week of Thanksgiving. And can you guess what happened a few days ago? Yup, another member died, meaning there’s a funeral Saturday, church Sunday, and the start of Lent next Wednesday.
I hope this isn’t the new trend for the start of midweek services.
Christmas Day has come and gone and pastors take a breather before the chaos of Lent starts.
At least that’s what I always assumed what happened. Then I looked at January.
Apparently there is a small window of rest after Christmas Day and we used it to go see family. While visiting family is important, it’s also not restful (especially when traveling with a baby. I tried explaining to Babykins that we were going on vacation, but she continued wanting to eat and needing diaper changes). Then I took a closer look at our January calendar and realized that my husband starts his full schedule of Bible studies and meetings on Monday. Since he has to actually prepare for these things, as well as continue writing sermons for Sundays, he went back to work yesterday. Additionally, Lent will begin in about 6 weeks. Our little family will be back on the triage schedule that we had during Advent.
Maybe we’ll take a break after Easter. Maybe.