Wednesday, February 26 was Ash Wednesday, and for those who are unable to fit a full church service into their busy mid-work-week lives, there is Ashes-To-Go! Here are a couple reflections from some participating ECCT parishes on their experiences with Ashes-To-Go.
Holy Advent, Clinton
Location: Holy Advent, Clinton
From the Rev. Diana Rogers: “Ashes on the Go was never something I envisioned myself offering at church—until I did it, and now I can’t imagine not offering it. Over the last five Ash Wednesdays I have heard words of confession, words of shame and guilt, words of anger, and mostly words of gratitude. Gratitude from the elderly and infirm, gratitude from those who don’t drive at night, gratitude from those who feel the Church has abandoned them, gratitude from those who feel unwanted, unloved, unworthy.
“Jesus went to the people, not asking them to prove anything, just asking them to believe in the redeeming love of the eternal God. Their faith had made them well, had set them free. Ashes on the Go brings that same eternal love to those most in need of the healing mercy of Christ Jesus and sets them free to live in hope, and truth. As it says in the Good Book, “Behold, I am with you always,” even on the Go.”
St. Mark’s, New Canaan
Location: New Canaan Train Station
From the Rev. Peter Walsh: “I love doing Ashes to Go. It is a powerful thing to watch people poise in the midst of running to the train to receive the imposition of ashes. For one quick moment, they come to a complete halt and you can see into their souls. It is beautiful. There is such depth to people’s lives that is not always apparent as they go about the business of daily life.”
First photo from New Canaan Advertiser.
Location: Durham Pharmacy, Main Street
From the Rev. Peter Floyd: “Epiphany did “Ashes to Go” for four hours today at the Durham Pharmacy. We served 50 plus “customers”. Cars honked and people waived going by. Four cars U-turned, in traffic, for ashes. Victor Friedrich showed up vested in alb with processional cross, and presented self and cross at road’s edge. Astonishment, joy, gratitude, and tears from those who stopped. Appreciation from all. A stunning, mind bending day! Thank you, God, for nudging us out where we are supposed to be!”
From Victor Friedrich: “I felt uneasy as I loaded the alb and processional cross in my SUV. That cross has for thousands of Sundays led Book and Choir and Celebrant the length of our church center aisle; and now I was taking it from that safe place through the whole length of town to a noisy roadside. Nevertheless, off we went and, arriving at Durham Pharmacy, we planted ourselves – I in the alb and the cross in its magnificence, right at the edge of Route 17, in the midst of rush hour, to offer ashes on this Ash Wednesday.
“As I stood by the road, my mind wandered. I thought: Today the church is turned inside-out, and what was within is now without. The cross and the alb, exposed at the side of the road, were both visible reminder and invitation: if we open our hearts, we find God all around us, and among us, and within us.”
St. Peter’s, Milford
Location: Milford Metro North Platform
From the Rev. Matt Lindeman: “Ashes to Go was a shared experience-coming together among colleagues on our city. We gave each other ashes, and enjoyed each other’s company between waves of commuters, spreading out to be available to them as they took to the platform.
“It felt apostolic, going out, and coming back together-action and reflection-sharing in the joy of praying individually with our neighbors who leave so early for work.
“I give thanks for the hospitality of Linda, who gifted us with coffee at the station cafe. As I came in to say hello and thank her, I looked around and saw members of the unsheltered homeless community, staying warm in the chilly hours of the morning. There we were, all of us, commuters, clergy, and homeless neighbors finding warmth in this way station-a tiny glimpse of the kingdom of God.”
More Ashes-To-Go photos!
Here are some more photos of ECCT folks participating in Ashes-To-Go throughout Connecticut! If you participated in Ashes-To-Go around ECCT and have a photo, please send it to us and we will add it to the slideshow below.