Every so often, liturgy really seems to get it right and achieve what it describes....This evening I heard again and again "Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return.Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ" and the effect was inescapably humbling. Saying those same words to my much-loved boss, I felt as if I was somehow passing sentence upon him...which was both weird, uncomfortable and deeply moving,- though of course the whole point of the service is that the sentence is common to all humanity.
Then, the solemn effect was rather ruined. I had been warned that this year's ash was "tricky"(clearly the sacristan did need Tom's recipe :-) ) and that I would need to apply it with some force if I wanted to achieve a visible cross at all. I followed this advice, so for the rest of the service, poor M looked as if he'd had a target painted on to his forehead with creosote. I may only have had to ash him this year, but by gum I ashed him well and truly...No half hearted little smudges here. He was branded, poor man...
Still not sure what I'm trying by way of Lenten discipline, which doesn't auger well...but am seriously considering trying to give up guilt for Lent, in line with Rhys wonderful 10 Commandments. I've been inspired to read Stephen Cottrell's Lent book from last year I thirst
and there are one or two others about the place that I would really like to get into as the weeks go by,- but the big one is prayer, and for that my strategies are rather lacking... Giving it a sensible portion of time is at least a starting point, so start I shall.