As we’ve been saying for almost a year now, “this is not how we usually do this” (whatever this may be). We continue with “however, it is how we are doing it now- and for the forseesable future”.
In my faith community, Shrove Tuesday supper takes place in a small local restaurant where the dinner fare is pancakes. The owner closes the restaurant for the night so St. James can enjoy pancakes.
As a church made up of oldering people, many have been to many a Mardi Gras party. So we have an abundance of beads and related decorations with which to decorate the restaurant.
Last year’s Shrove Tuesday was one of the last times we gathered as a parish. The following day was Ash Wednesday, and that was just about the last in-person, inside worship we have since held.
Yesterday, Shrove Tuesday, I made my own ashes for Ash Wednesday – today. I had some palm fronds from years ago, and a couple of palm crosses from previous Palm Sundays. These had all been blessed, so they would do perfectly.
I watched a video about how to make ashes. You don’t just burn palms and get ashes. It’s a process.
After gathering up my palm material, I cut it into pieces and placed those pieces on the bottom side of a stainless steel skillet. A small torch provided a small flame, but while one piece caught fire, it didn’t really spread. The flames did not “reach out” to the adjacent pieces so they too might then catch fire.
It took patience to accomplish the burn.
Next, the bits and pieces were placed in a sieve to be shaken into ash- which was the goal A significant amount of ash did not come from my effort.
“So daily dying to the way of self, so daily living to your way of love… Hymn 149. From Living Lent, Meditations for These Forty Days by Barbara Carthone Crafton.