Oh, there are many good reasons to attend an Ash Wednesday service. Contemplating ones relationship with God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Praying, burning of the palm fronds I think it is representing our sins, mostly, reflecting upon ourselves and atoning for our sins sort of, preparing ourselves for Lent.
Why is this my second favorite religious service of the year? Yes, it's to the point. I love that. It focuses on real stuff, not that a Sunday morning worship service isn't "real," not that songs of glory aren't wonderful expressions of worship, also, but there is no fru-fru fluff in an Ash Wednesday service, at least, not at the ones I've attended.
It also concludes, at least in my church, with a recommendation to go in peace and quiet, in reflection.
Gosh, I love that aspect. I can go and worship, and not really have to talk with anyone. :)
I don't even care if that sounds bad. Sometimes, going to church, as much as I do believe any place of worship should be welcoming and congregations should have a social aspect, should lend its focus on worship. Sometimes, I don't want to deal with others. Tonight, that's okay.
Even if I have tons of thoughts on M's New York trip, and my evening last night which included discussion of singles dating. I'll get around to posting them. Oh, yeah, robins greeted me this morning, too. Ciao.
Update: Peace. It was different from my favorite remembered one from past years, but it was still good. I imagine it'd appear like a strange ritual for those not clued in, receiving the mark of Christ on our foreheads via ashes, along with a blessing. Peace. Thanks, God, for the peace. For the quiet sometimes, too. I
I think I like this service in part as it focuses on some of the depth of being a Christian, without the extra distractions in a regular service (I could almost focus on all of it, not quite, it is an hour long give/take).
Few secular/social Christians show up for a Presbyterian congregation's Ash Wednesday service. And, thankfully, it's okay in our nation these years to have the mark of Christ in ashes on my forehead, hidden by bangs or not, Irish or not, Catholic or not. M discovered that many Irish Catholics would have their churches burned down in the US; I would have figured that only to happen in Ireland.
Peace. Peaceful heart, body, soul, can we have that, a focus on Christ, what does He want of me, this Lenten season? I'm not a good Christian. But, there are times I try.
Pharmolo (and others!!) -- thanks for your kind thoughts -- even as a Protestant, however, I personally like this start of Lent for me. I, too, respect others and therefore respect and understand that many Protestants don't participate in Ash Wednesday services (or mass).