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Watch the Ash Wednesday ritual of the imposition of ashes as it was observed during the morning commute at the Dupont Circle metro station in Washington, DC by Julie Bringman, director of Sunday night ministries, and volunteers from Foundry United Methodist Church.
JULIE BRINGMAN (Foundry United Methodist Church): I work specifically with a Sunday evening service at Foundry that’s a little more casual, a little more accessible than church always is so we thought that in the theme of casual and accessible we would bring the ashes to the street. A lot of people don’t remember that its Ash Wednesday, it falls at a different time every year or they don’t know where to go to church or what time or don’t have time to, so we thought if we bought the ashes to the morning commute more people would remember that it was happening and be able to participate and receive the ashes if they wanted to.
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the season of Lent which is 6 weeks preceding Easter where we get ready for Easter so it’s a time of reflection and analysis with the hope that this time of preparation makes room for God.
We receive ashes on our forehead to remember that life is short. That we are all transient beings and we don’t know what our time is and we want to be grateful for the time that we have. So while putting ashes on the forehead someone says you come from dust and you will return to dust.
I think that there are a lot of things that we have the habit of only doing in church that make a lot of sense when we take them outside of church so even that sense of Ash Wednesday and that life is short and we want to be grateful for the time that we have in the midst of the morning commute is when people may need that reminder even more.
We hope that we do things and we do things in creative ways and then God shows up and so I guess my hope is that people who saw this had a small moment of awareness or awakening or attentiveness that gets us out of the routine and open to new things and that that makes room for God.