Pastor Cwirla explains that he is a preacher of the gospel and dispenser of forgiveness and sacraments, not doer of man-invented rituals proclaiming death. It's a beautiful post full of good news. I see his point.
Yet, we had ashes for the very first time this year at our home congregation. Below find, what the bulletin said about it.
And I did find the event meaningful in that it brought home to me in a different way that I need Jesus. I really, really need him because I am indeed dying, dying in my sin. He is exactly the Savior I need. A Savior from sin and death.
This is what my church bulletin said in way of explanation:
"The seasons of the church year reflect differing moods, as does life itself: overwhelming triumph, deep sorrow, quiet joy, eager anticipation, and even normal, ordinary life and growth. Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent, a time of contemplative sorrow over our own sinfulness and special remembrance of the sufferings of Jesus Christ for our sin. Ashes have been a sign of sorrow for millennia, and there are numerous biblical examples of people covering themselves with ashes. Today we invite you who wish to participate to come forward at this time to receive the mark of ashes on your forehead as a vivid reminder of your own mortality (ashes to ashes) as an expression of repentance before God. The ashes are the remains of last year's palm branches, thereby showing how fickle our praise to God often becomes. But ashes also suggest cleansing and renewal, and they point to the gift of forgiveness God gives us in Jesus Christ."
What comes to mind also, is that monks placed skulls on their desks to remind them of their mortality. But we are no monks, either.
In any case, I am not going to worry about it any more tonight, as long as no rule is made about it.