When it was her turn to receive the mark of ashes last night, the young woman looked at me quizzically. “What if they come off?” she asked.
I smiled reassuringly and told her that it was ok if they come off. In fact, I said, she might even want to wash them off later tonight or in the morning.
I’d never even thought of worrying about if the ashed come off. Honestly, the most thought I’d given it was how do some people put such a well defined corss on a forehead when I at best provide a crossed-smudge.
We, or at least I, take so much for granted in “churched culture.”
I am going to assume that this young woman was interested in, even hungry for, the presence of God and call toward God of the Ash Wednesday service. I will pray today, and through this season, that though the ashes are no longer on her (or my) forehead, the reason(s) we had them there will last.