Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday. Somber worship. A mark of the cross on my forehead: a sign I need forgiveness, and a sign I am forgiven.
I like it when, after the service is over, I'm downtown, or at the grocery store, or in the neighborhood, and I have forgotten I have a black mark on my head. People look quizzically, and try not to stare. I've had helpful friends offer to wipe it off. The imprint of worship lingers when I'm not in worship any longer.
I've been intrigued by the idea of us becoming worshipful people ever since I was talking with a young man in my office, who positively lit up with energy when he told me "I'm an outdoorsman." He told me about hiking, climbing, camping... and was totally invigorated by being an outdoorsman - while we were very much indoors.
Could we, when not in worship, be animated by what we do in worship, and actually become worshipful people, who gradually, in subtle ways, begin to worship all the time? We gather in pews or chairs, we scan the bulletin or screens, and then we engage in a list of activities: a song, somebody talks, we bow our heads, we admit our mistakes, we give money, we say what matters, we ask God to help, we are quiet, we say thank you. What would it be like to be marked by these things, and the mark lingers for hours and days?
We might even think of worship as the ultimate Praxis. We believe, and practice doing what we'll need to be doing in the coming week: thanking God, offering ourselves, admitting weakness, asking for strength, reflecting on God's Word.
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