Please. Read. This.

Let's see...
I guess it's been a while,
even many years,
since I went to church on Ash Wednesday
to get ashes...

How long's it been?
Let's see...
Yup - it's been a while!

When did I stop going for ashes?
Why did I stop going for ashes?
Was there a reason?
Will I go this year?
Why not go this year?
Why should I go this year?
Why go any year?
Why ashes?

Getting ashes doesn't mean I'm holy.
As a matter of fact,
getting ashes means I'm not holy...

Ashes are for sinners,
for people like me who do wrong -
sometimes little things, sometimes big things...

Ashes are for people who screw up,
who forget what's really important,
who let things slide
- even a lot...

Ashes are for folks like me
who sometimes hurt others,
who sometimes even hurt the people they love...

Ashes are for imperfect, broken people,
for people like me who let things get out of control,
for people who sometimes do the wrong thing
even when they know what the right thing is...

Ashes are for people like me
who take too many short cuts,
who don't always tell the truth,
who sometimes cheat,
for people who keep silent when they ought to speak up...

Ashes are for people like me...

Going to church and getting ashes
probably won't turn my life around overnight
but it could be a step, even just one step,
in a new direction,
on a path I sometimes think I want to follow
but have a hard time finding,
a path I often stray from...

Getting ashes this Wednesday
just might be the beginning
of mending my relationship with God,
my relationship with some people in my life,
my relationship with myself...

Getting ashes this Wednesday might help me
take an honest look at things in my life
things that really need looking at,
things that need attention,
things that need letting go,
things that need changing,
things that need reconciling and healing...

Getting ashes this Wednesday might feel kinda strange,
and I might be a little embarrassed
when others see my smudged forehead
and ask me why I did it.
Well,  I could say I did it because:
I've been thinking about my life,
taking a little personal inventory,
considering some changes
and thought this might be a time,
a way,
a place to start...

Me in church?
Me getting ashes?
It could happen!

And something tells me it won't hurt
and it might be good to give it a try,
to give it a chance:
to give God and me a chance
at a new beginning...

So even it's been a long time
since the last time I got ashes,
I'm going to church this Wednesday
to say a prayer,
to get my forehead smudged,
to say hello to God
and take a first step on that path
I've been wanting to walk...

And since I know that between now and Wednesday
I'll think of a dozen reasons not to go,
give me a nudge, Lord, a shove,
a kick in the butt or whatever it takes
for me to take that first step this Wednesday,
this Ash Wednesday...

See you on Wednesday, Lord!

Ash Wednesday Prep
Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments


  1. Thank you, Austin. I look forward to praying with you during Lent.

  2. A personal invitation from the Lord. Nice. I used to get them at Trinity Church, but I'm not a 'you-know-what'. Can I still? Time?

  3. If you take Lent seriously, why did you show up in a clown costume last year at the 4 o'clock service?

  4. I did not "show up in a clown costume" last year at the 4:00 service. It's a children's service and I use a number of props to suggest to children what they might take on/give up as Lenten practices. One of my props is a clown hat which I put on for about a half a minute and suggest that kids might give up "clowning around" when their parents or teachers are trying to get them to do something important or serious.


Please THINK before you write
and PRAY before you think!