When I was young, I hated this high, Holy day. I loved the whole Advent and Christmas season, and oddly, also Good Friday (astute observers will note my early tendency to drama in these liturgical choices). But I hated Ash Wednesday. I found it gloomy, and I didn't want to be reminded of how many ways I would fail to be a good person. In my young days, that was the take-away message for Ash Wednesday for me. I doubt the Lutheran pastors of my childhood and adolescent parishes really preached that message. But that's what I heard.
Now, I find myself inspired to make art. Here's the result of my Lenten discipline: week 1, visual art project #1:
I painted a canvas board with gray and black paint, and then I sprinkled real ash from the fireplace onto it. I particularly like the black wispy/flaky bits which sort of look like birds or black butterflies. I have no idea how I will preserve this painting--when I sprayed fixative across it, some of the wispys flaked off. Maybe I won't preserve it. Maybe I'll add to it each week.
For me, as an adult at midlife, this painting embodies the message of Ash Wednesday. We are here for such a short time. We try to hard to preserve what we have, thus ensuring that we will have to watch what we love flake away from us. We are dust, and we will return to dust sooner than we care to think about. As an adult, Ash Wednesday has become one of my favorite services. I need to be reminded of the importance of prioritizing, and that God's priorities may not match those that the world would tell me is important.
you’re perfect just the way you are
4 months ago