Ashes to Go

AshestoGo2Tomorrow morning at 730 until 830am, Esther and myself from Holy Trinity Greenwich Peninsula will be robing and offering ‘ashes to go’ at the bus stop outside ‘the vicarage’. 

I’m not sure how this will go and I do not mind saying I am more than a little nervous as to the kind of reception we may receive. I hope some people will feel able to connect with something of their past. I hope some people will welcome the opportunity to pause and consider their humanity in the face of the Divine. I hope some people will be surprised to find the church at their bus stop. I hope some people find encouragement in knowing that their Creator has not forgotten them.

The palm crosses have been burned. Oil ahas been added and we will ash people at the bus stop while saying this simple prayer:

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Go in peace. Amen.

We will also give those ashed and wanting to take something away a copy of this prayer and explanation which will be attached to the back of our postcard giving details of who we are. The explanation and prayer below come from the Ashes to Go website:

Almighty and merciful God, you hate nothing you have made, and forgive the sins of all who are penitent; create in us new and contrite hearts, so that when we turn to you and confess our sins and acknowledge our need, we may receive your full and perfect forgiveness, through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.

Why “Ashes to Go”?
Ashes are an ancient sign of penitence. From the Middle Ages it became the custom to begin Lent by being marked in ash with the sign of the cross. The reminder that we are dust turns our attention to the creative power of God, and God’s ability to heal the brokenness in our lives when we offer that brokenness to God. That turning to God is the work of Lent, preparation for the celebration of Easter. We’re offering ashes on the street corner today because that reminder of need, humility, and healing shouldn’t be confined to a church building.

We probably need it more when we are in the middle of our daily business! The ashes we receive here are to remind us throughout the day of our need for God, and of God’s call to us.

So …. in just around 12 hours I will be waking … and getting ready …. and becoming nervous … but then afterwards I hope to be able to say that many people felt blessed and encouraged by our presence. Being good news on The Peninsula is what we are about …. and part of that good news is serving and helping and blessing. If we achieve that as a church that would be cool! 

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