Ash Wednesday, this liminal place of death and life, is a day of strange contrasts. When I smudge ash and oil onto the skin of those who come forward, I mark them with a sign of death to assure them they will live.
What does it mean, this ash and oil applied to skin? Child of God, child of God, I remind myself as I look in the mirror at my own cross of ashes.
“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
This message is an excerpt from “Ash and Oil” by Jordan Miller-Stubbendick in the January/February issue of Gather magazine. Today we observe Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day. We also remember Cyril, monk, died 869; and Methodius, bishop, died 885; missionaries to the Slavs.
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