Today instead of providing you pictures of my food, I am simply going to tell you what I ate and then discuss a bit about Ash Wednesday, which seems a wee bit more important than food.
Breakfast: Greek yogurt with oats, a banana, some blackberries, raw honey, and some cinnamon
Lunch: an orange and a snickers bar
Snack: some Cowboy bark from Trader Joe’s
Dinner: chicken bacon bites, broccoli, and a Wee Mac
As you can tell it was a very healthy way to welcome the Lenten season. Ha! Not really, but I am focusing on clean eating for the duration of Lent.
Today was the first time I have ever been to an actual Ash Wednesday service at a church that actually marked people’s foreheads with ashes, and I must say that the liturgy for Ash Wednesday is beautiful. Tragic and sad and penitential, but beautiful. For today, not realizing it was Ash Wednesday, I had assigned my Bible as literature students the story of David and Bathsheba and Psalm 51. I also didn’t realize when I assigned those texts that Psalm 51 would be used in today’s liturgy. I bring this forward simply because I love Psalm 51 and I pray it whenever I need a moment of recentering or reconnection with God, so it is especially meaningful for me. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Those words, spoken by the priest before preparing the wine and the bread every Sunday and spoken by the tiny congregation today in penitence, are especially meaningful in my life. I’ve had so many moments when I just want a redo. I just want to go back and go over those things I didn’t do right the first time. I want to offer a broken and contrite heart, because I know that is the offering that my Lord seeks. Today, I was pleasantly surprised when we made it through the liturgy to the Psalm reading and there it was after I had just read and prepared to discuss it with my students. And, as a special bonus, my students had the best discussion about that Psalm and the David story. They truly did an excellent job.
I was moved by the Eucharist today, as I usually am. I don’t know if it’s my oversensitivity right now, or if I have finally reconnected with my faith, but I nearly cried at the presence of Jesus in the wine and bread today. If that is my response to Ash Wednesday, I can’t wait for Holy Friday this year. I’ll be a blubbering mess! I never know what God is up to in my life, but I always just take for granted that it’s something good. I’m just resting in the fact that God brought me to the Episcopal Church at this time in my life for a reason, because I feel comfortably challenged there. And I feel God’s presence, most importantly.
I do have to say that it was a little awkward walking around with an ash cross on my forehead, considering that I had never done it before. While I don’t mind evangelizing or discussing faith or theology, obviously, I was a bit concerned about doing it at school. Everything worked out fine, but one student thought I had gotten a new tattoo. Odd.