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Shrove Tuesday and every day for Lent (I hope!)

2014 March 4
by Gordon Reid

In my last posting (which was over a month ago, I’m ashamed to say) I suggested that one positive way of observing Lent was to write one letter or card or email a day to a friend. I still mean to do this, but I have also decided to write something on this blog every day of Lent. I’ve never done that before, so goodness knows what the quality of daily entries will be like – maybe trivial, but if so, I’ll keep them short!

Tomorrow, I will say Mass at 11 a.m. blessing the ashes which I will then use for an hour or two on the corner of 19th St and Chestnut St for anyone who wants to be ashed. St Clement’s web master, Marc Coleman, has produced a beautiful card to be given to these people, with all the Lent and Holy Week services on it, as well as some fine pictures of worship and fellowship at St Clement’s. I’ll have Curt Mangel and Daniel Craig, two of our servers, with me who will give out these cards. Then I will sing Mass at 7 p.m. and our wonderful choir will sing the Allegri “Miserere”, which always makes a profound impression on me. If there was ever a time to use that over-worked adjective “awesome”, this is surely it. If you are in reach of St Clement’s,  come and hear  it; if you can’t, it will soon be on our web site.

I’ve been slightly bemused by some of the comments I have been reading on Facebook against the  new idea of “Ashes To Go”. Of course the name may be a bit unfortunate, and I readily admit that receiving the ashes in a quick ceremony in the street is a second best to receiving them as part of the Ash Wednesday Mass. However, in the same way, listening to that Mass on the web site is a second best, but some people are stuck at home and it is a blessing for them. And some people work long days and unsociable hours and can’t get to mass on Ash Wednesday, so surely the quick act of penitence in the street is better than nothing.

There is a certain snobbery in some of the opposition – it’s not the kind of thing that Episcopalians should be doing. Leave street corner preaching to Baptists or the Salvation Army. But what about processions of the Blessed Sacrament through the streets on Corpus Christi? What about singing carols round the doors of the parish before Christmas? Surely there is a value in  taking our faith out into the highways and byways, and maybe not compelling them to come in, but at least making it very clear that they will all be welcome to come in. Tomorrow (if I haven’t frozen to death) I’ll let you know how it went.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. James permalink
    March 4, 2014

    Thank you Gordon. I agree there is a certain snobbery suddenly about Ashes to Go. I appreciate we are finally reaching out. About time!

  2. March 5, 2014

    What a good idea! I shall try to follow your daily Lenten articles.

    Ashes on the street? Not a bad idea!

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