Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Anti-Glitter Ash Wednesday

"WE WILL BE SEEN

Glitter is like love. It’s irresistible and irrepressible.

WE WILL TELL THE TRUTH

Ashes are a statement that death and suffering are real.
Glitter is a sign of our hope, which does not despair.
Glitter signals our promise to repent, to show up, to witness, to work.
Glitter never gives up -- and neither do we."

(http://parity.nyc/glitter-ash-wednesday)

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This is the opening part of the website linked above. It's a new thing started this year on Ash Wednesday (today) to show support to the LGBT community. And I feel it's completely wrong.

Don't mistake that statement to mean that I don't support the LGBT community. I have no issue with anyone's sexual orientation (as long as they aren't pedophiles). But I do have an issue with the message on this particular day.

Ash Wednesday, and the season of Lent as a whole, are not about us being seen and noticed. Yes, we do put ashes on the forehead. Yes, this is an outward sign to others. But for me, it has always been a simple reminder to myself that I am broken. I am a sinner. I really should be cast into the pit of hell for eternity. Or, at the very least, when I die and turn to dust, I should simply remain as dust.

It is only through the grace and love of God... through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, which we celebrate in 6 weeks... that we do not remain as dust.

Yes. Death and suffering are real. But we're not focusing on our own death and suffering at this time of the year. We're supposed to focus on the fact that we deserve that death and suffering. I know I do. And while I know you do as well, that's not the point. I'm not supposed to be spending this time of year focusing on the sins of others. I'm focusing on my own. I am a sinner. I sin daily. Probably hourly. Sometimes probably more. I would be nothing without God.

Glitter is not a sign of love. It is not a sign of hope. The cross alone is. The cross on the forehead, made from ASH reminds us individually... internally... in our own hearts... that we are nothing without God, other than dust. The cross, and the fact that it does mean we're nothing but ash without that cross, is what brings us to repentance and forgiveness.

Glitter is nothing but a "look at me! I'm making a stand for injustice!" Ash Wednesday, and all of Lent, is not about that. Yes, fighting injustice is a great thing. It is something we're called to do. But this is a season of looking inwards at our own brokenness and sinfulness, and using the time to focus on God and asking God to be there with us. It's a time to grow closer to God. It's a time to focus on our own temptations and seeking the strength and wisdom of God to recognize those temptations and push past them. It's a very internal journey... one between self and God. It's one about a journey to grow in faith, through the grace and mercy of God.

It has nothing to do with glitter, or our own self-worth, or any agenda.

"Glitter never gives up - and neither do we."

Yes, we do. We constantly give up on God. Glitter doesn't change that. Glitter focuses on self and self interest and selfishness. Today, and every day, I am going to do the best I can - which can only be attempted with the grace and mercy and forgiveness of Christ - to take my focus off the glitter, and place that focus where it belongs... on God.

Peace be to all of you today, and every day.

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