The Imposition of Ashes

The Rev'd J. Noel at the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Topsail
The Rev'd J. Noel
From the St. John the Evangelist Facebook page

St. John the Evangelist, Topsail

This year, Shrove Tuesday fell on March 1st, and as is the annual customary practice, our ACW ladies organized and prepared a take out supper of baked beans, sausages, and the traditional pancake dessert.

We optimistically hope that next year will find us in a position to resume this automatic activity as an eat-in fellowship with our church family and guests from neighbouring parishes. 

The next day was Ash Wednesday, which is a major fast day in the church calendar, and the antecedent (or starting point) of worship during the holy season of Lent. The Rev’d Jotie Noel marked it with the ceremony of the imposition of ashes as a prerequisite for the many commitments which we will endeavour to uphold during the next forty days leading up to the celebration of Easter. As St. Paul said, “practice and cultivate and meditate upon those duties.” (Timothy 4:15)

While standing by the altar directly behind the lectern, and while facing the congregation, Rev’d Jotie commenced his Ash Wednesday sermon with a question: “Have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately?”

This challenge turned out to be a deeply emotional revelation of the multiple symbolic features of the reflection, which I am sure are often overlooked by us or chosen to be forgotten.
We are all aware that “dust we are, and to dust we shall return,” but sometimes we need a little jerk to be reminded of the fragility of human life, and that the facial imperfections we observe in the mirror are just frivolous vanity compared to infinity and our relationship with God.
Each Wednesday evening during the next forty days, Rev’d Jotie, assisted by Deacon Lisa, will lead the congregation every step in the parish’s Lenten path, in preparation for the reawakening of the glorious resurrection on Easter Day. 

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