I can easily say that our Ash Wednesday service at church was one of most meaningful hours I've had in a very long time. I love this service. I love Lent. I love the meaning behind this season...the beautiful promise, the brutal events and the assurance that we are forgiven in Christ.
Our Ash Wednesday service is casual, calm, peaceful and very family friendly. On this night, in particular, I needed this time at church. (It had been a crazy, hectic day - rushing from school, to play dates, to ballet, squeezing dinner in as we sped down the highway on our way to church. But almost instantaneously after arriving, I felt at peace.) I sat in a pew, surrounded by children and dear friends and felt immensely blessed. Blessed to be able to share this truth with my kids, blessed to be supported and loved by an amazing church family and above all blessed with the love of God and the sacrifice that He made for us all. For me. I am certainly not worthy, but I am so thankful.
We sang beautiful songs (and hearing my littles sing with their hearts was a gift!), prayed, reflected and were reminded of our Father's forgiveness. Of course, what would a church service with children be without a few funny moments...Kennedy has no filter, although what four year old does? She also has no volume control on that sweet voice of hers. Several times throughout the forty minutes, she'd loudly make a statement, very matter-of-factly, I might add.
"Mama, this is boring"
"That was a long song"
"That's a funny story"
"This is a long story"
"Mama, I love you."
My dear friend, Kathy, and I would just peer over little heads and smile. It really did warm my heart to have Carter and Kennedy worship with me. It made me wish that we did it more often (they attend Sunday school while Kyle and I are in worship).
Carter was sitting with two of his buddies, so of course there was a little silliness...but there was also a bowed head and heartfelt singing. He was worshiping.
Both children received ashes on their foreheads and did wonderfully walking up to the front of the sanctuary and showing reverence and respect.
Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return
We had to make a quick stop at the grocery store on the way home (a third kind of cough medicine was in order since Miss K adamantly refused the first two!) At first I was a little self conscience of the ashes on my head, but as I stopped for a moment and thought about its significance, I was proud. Proud to be able to display my faith so publicly. It's rare that we are given such an easy opportunity to proclaim our trust in Christ.
It was the perfect way to start this blessed season of Lent.