Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Showing Some Ash!

Forgive my pun.  I blame Busted Halo and their Show Us Your Ash contest for it.  Since it's Ash Wednesday, I signed Madeline out of school early, picked up Ellie and took the girls to the Ash Wednesday service at our parish.

I'm always amazed at how packed the church is on this non-obligatory day, but not on holy days of obligation.  It's so bizarre.  If given a choice between the two I'd rather go to a Holy Day of Obligation Mass vs. Ash Wednesday where they smear my forehead with ashes.  But to each his own.  I know Ellie would skip Ash Wednesday if she had her wish.  She seriously dislikes having ashes traced on her head.  Not a fan in the least.

I found the time we spent sitting in the church before the service began to be rather amusing.  I had two older women sitting in front of me loudly discussing some of the things they were seeing in the sanctuary.  First, they were talking about the Lenten dessert scene that is now before the altar.  They were intrigued about the broken clay pot.  "Is there something in the Bible about that?" the one woman asked her friend.  "I don't know, maybe." replied the other.  The there was a slight pause.  One of them mentioned that Jesus spent forty days and forty nights in the desert.  The other then quipped "It doesn't seem very smart to break your pot on the first day in the dessert.  Isn't that stupid?  He must have been thirsty."  I almost died.  Really?  I'm sure Jesus didn't go out in the desert drop his clay water container and say "Shoot, I'm going to be really thirsty now for the next 39 days I'm out here."  In the bulletin last week they explained the significance of the broken clay pot.  It represents our own brokenness.  It's not there to tell us that Jesus dropped his pot and then wandered around thirsty because He had butterfingers.  A few more minutes passed and the two women once again loudly said something that made me resist the urge to bring my palm to my face.  "So why is St. Irish up there?  What's he supposed to represent?" said the one woman.  At this point I'm sitting there saying to myself "Really?  St. Irish?  What planet is this woman from?" then her friend says "I don't know.  Isn't St. Patrick's day coming up?  Maybe it has something to do with that."  "Maybe." was the other woman's response.  St. Patrick's statue is next to the lectionary because each month a new saint statue is placed there.  I naturally assumed when I went to Mass on Saturday that he was there because his feast day is this month.  My five and a half year old knew it was St. Patrick right away and was the one who pointed him out.  Mercifully, the prayer service started shortly after that and I didn't have to over hear much more other than the one friend telling her companion that she thinks she could be a good reader since she enunciates well.  To quote the Church Lady "Well isn't that special?!"

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