This is the good thing about Ash Wednesday.
We are reminded to own our own shit.
We don't get to simply externalize all the junk that goes on and say, "Oh, those other guys."
We are part of the other guys.
It'd be kind of cool to pick and choose who gets smeared with ashes today. I have a list. You do too.
But this is the thing: I'm on my list. And you are, however much I love you. Even my daughters; one of the most hideous things I had to do as a pastor was to smudge their foreheads with ashes and say those words.
But this is another thing. There is no list. No lasting list. No eternal list. That's what I think. Disagree if you wish but I don't think we're meant to live under this curse.
What I believe is that we need a "breathe of heaven" day. Whether or not you believe we come from and go somewhere after this life, I do believe that we are all endued with blessing and the "breathe of heaven" as we enter this world. When is the day for that?
Not Baptism. Baptism is all about claiming us for God, saving us by God's mercy and all that other stuff we talk about. Fine. But that is still not the first word.
The FIRST word about every one of us is "It is good." The first act upon every one of us is blessing.
I'm down with taking my turn being smudged and reminded of my mortality and my sinfulness. That's a reality check worth getting.
And I'm probably in line right behind and before the schmucks I think deserve the ugly gashes on their faces way more than I do. (Hardee har har). Figures.