Over the last few years, some congregations have taken to distributing ashes on Ash Wednesday in public locations–outdoors at train stations and in parks, for example. On crowded city streets, you can see pastors and lay ministers in stoles and sometimes cassocks or albs (depending on the Christian franchise) offering passers-by the marking of their foreheads with ashes. Some offer to say a prayer with them.
It’s a very public display of our faith and a reminder of the season of Lent. What do you think? Would you think it was weird if someone you didn’t know asked you if you wanted ashes? Would you be offended? Can this be a way of bringing Jesus out of the church building and into the communities where people live and work? Or is this the latest liturgical fad? What will you do this Lent to express your faith?