Ashes and Love

Hospice chaplain, Kerry Egan wrote, “If God is love, and we believe that to be true, then we learn about God when we learn about love. The first, and usually the last, classroom of love is the family.The spiritual work of being human is learning how to love and how to forgive.”

The preschool chapel this morning was an Ash Wednesday service. Claire’s warm little hand in mine comforted me, and I saw her looking my hand over. Mom is on my mind. Mother’s hands seem to be scrutinized by daughters, and I consider Mom’s hands now. These are to be the first hands of love that we experience.

Claire didn’t want the ashes, but she stood by to watch me receive them. The pastor said, “God says, It’s okay, and I love you.” His was an age-appropriate way to speak of God’s forgiveness as we speak our confession to God. “I’m sorry, God, for the way I’ve hurt you.”

Ashes speak of where we came from and how our bodies will end. The ashes in the bowl remind me of dying, and I pray today that the wrong in me will die. There is much to confess for all of us. But with the ashes (and hopefully the deadening of our selfish ways), here comes so much Love.

How can we during this Lenten season demonstrate love and forgiveness in our families?

O, God of Love, show us how to love. Show us how to forgive.


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