Revd Liz introduces how Ash Wednesday presents a great mission opportunity
Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent. For a few years at 7 o’clock on Ash Wednesday morning several of us have gathered at Charlton Station to offer ashes to anyone who wants to receive ashes as they travel to work, school or anywhere else. Some receive ashes on their foreheads, others on their hands. Some are very aware of what they represent, other people need a bit of an explanation of what this (admittedly strange-looking) practice is all about and why Christians start Lent with an ash cross on their forehead. Those who decline the ashes are offered a blessing card instead.
Quite a number ignore the offer but in the years we’ve been doing it, I don’t think anyone has ever been rude in declining. Last year, 87 people received ashes at Charlton Station.
If you would like to help this year, speaking to people, offering ashes, or giving out blessing cards, your presence will be hugely appreciated. I can’t guarantee that it won’t be cold! But at 9am, when the numbers are thinning out, we thaw out at the café with some breakfast.
It’s an opportunity to leave our building and meet people where they are. It’s a chance to share a little about our faith with people we may never have met and may never see again. It’s a chance to get people thinking about how we mess up and the importance of saying sorry. It’s a chance to share a moment of prayer as people rush to their destination. It’s a chance to bless people with a card telling them they are precious in God’s sight.
Ashes to Go comes under the Discipleship priority of our Mission Action Plan in which we’re exploring different ways of being church and meeting people in community venues.
Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07922587263 if you’re able to join us at Charlton Station between
7.00 to 9.00am on Ash Wednesday, 22 February.
Pictures: Sheila & Liz ready to offer ashes and Warming up in the cafe afterwards