As I was preparing our Ash Wednesday service this year, I was really drawn to images of the living waters of baptism. I’ve never been able to think about the confession of sin without the assurance of forgiveness and grace – and it is through those living waters that this assurance is possible. As I prepared to impose ashes last week, I kept thinking that I wanted to bring together images of baptism and wilderness (using the wilderness because, after all, that is what Lent is all about).
I had the idea of using fabric to bring water through the desert and decided to go with it for two reasons …
1. It did the trick of combining the waters of baptism with the imagery of the wilderness.
2. I LOVED having water running through the desert, because doesn’t God always provide us with what we need? AMEN.
I decided not to burn all the palms to bring in a few of the dried out ones on the altar because it is such a great visual reminder of how the ashes come to be! I was kind of wishing that I had a different vase to put them in, but it was at home and I was short on time because two hours before the service started a hose had exploded in the women’s bathroom, and water went everywhere, causing a flood into one of the classrooms.
So the vase in my office had to do.
I love how there are so many different things you can do with Ash Wednesday! We really tried to have good quality music in the service and I think people enjoyed coming to a quiet service that was more about visual/arts/music than a long sermon. I’m think next year I might not even preach and just let the scriptures and visual/arts/music speak (preach?) for itself!