Today marks the beginning of Lent. Yesterday I burned some of last year's palm crosses and mixed the ash with the olive oil used in baptism services to put the sign of the cross of the forehead of those who are baptised. With this black oily sludge I marked the cross on the foreheads of those at today's service. At our baptism we are told that 'Christ claims us for his own, receive the sign of his cross'. On Ash Wednesday we say 'Dust you are and to dust you shall return, repent of your sins and turn to Christ'
As we enter the season of Lent we are called to examine ourselves and ask God to illumine those parts of our life that need to be transformed into something closer to that which God would want of us. We are made in the image of God but when we are self-centred that image of God in us is marred - just like when ash is added to the olive oil. Let us pray that through this season of Lent we may be transformed so that we reflect more of God's light, love and grace in this troubled world.
Holy and Strong
Holy and Immortal
Have mercy upon us.