Are You for Real?

Ash Wednesday 2020 Recap

2020 Ash Wednesday in the books, perhaps the most frigid in recent memory.  Ashes to Go serves hundreds with frozen fingers in our resort town.  “Remember that you are dust, but to ice you might return if you stay out here any longer!!”  Amid the stares, laughs, smirks, slightly confused looks, and outright skepticism from passing onlookers to my white vestment with dark stole adorned with sandwich board proudly announcing “ASHES TO GO,” my favorite response is the plaintive, direct question from folks who slowly approach me as if I might threaten them!  They come fairly close to my face and say, “Are you real?  Are you for real?  Is this some kind of joke?”  Not a bad question really!  As we begin the intensive journey of Lent, hearing the voice of Jesus calling above every other voice of distraction, chaos and anxiety, it’s a great challenge to take the deep wisdom of our faith seriously, as if our life depended upon it.  Transfiguration, my question to you is their question of me:

  1. Are you real?  Are you for real?  Is this some kind of joke?  Are we prepared to take these next 40 days (absent Sundays) leading up to Easter Day seriously?  Can we be real with Lent?
  2. If these next 40 days were the very last 40 days of our life, how would we live?  Who would we choose to be with?  What experiences would we most want to have?  And what time-sapping obstacles to life would we instantly leave behind?
  3. How does this reflection impact the rest of my day?

Warmly in the Lord,


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