1 Peter 3:18-22
Pr. Kyle, Intern Alex and I stood outside the Richland Hills train station before sunrise to offer ashes to commuters on their way to work. There were truck drivers and construction workers, business men and women, young couples, Merry Maids and food truck cooks, families with young children all who came to be reminded of their mortality (Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return) and be marked with the ashes of repentance in the sign of the cross. I’m sure some were meeting whatever religious requirement the days holds for them or maybe reconnecting with their Roman Catholic roots. Some just said thank you and blessed us with a smile and a wave as they drove off. One man ran to me to get ashes and then ran to catch the train. Another drove up and thanked me for being there but when I offered ashes said, “No thanks, I don’t do lent.” And then there was the woman who rolled down her window and asked if the ashes were a Christian thing and when I assured her it was said, “Well then do me too.” But there were a few who wept upon hearing the words and receiving the blessing. In some ways a priest in the early morning light meeting you on a street corner where you’d least expect the good news to be proclaimed in the reminder of mortality and the ashes of repentance is a cause for tears in the same way the “imprisoned spirits” who were disobedient long ago wept upon meeting the risen Christ in the darkness and hearing the Good News – Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous so they too might be brought to God.