Magazine article Anglican Journal

Ashes, Palms and Tapers

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Ashes, Palms and Tapers

Article excerpt

WHEN VISITING older people, my eyes often catch the sight of a palm cross tucked behind a picture of our Lord, family photo or dresser. I see their faith and their gratitude for the self-giving love of God in Christ. Many of those seniors, through great age or frailty of health, are no longer able to participate in the public liturgies of Lent, Holy Week and Easter. But in spirit they are making the same journey.

"We begin our journey to Easter with the sign of ashes, an ancient sign speaking of the frailty and uncertainty of human life, and marking the penitence of the community as a whole." (p. 282, Book of Alternative Services [BAS]). The litany of penitence for Ash Wednesday reminds us of those deeply personal sins and those that are of a corporate nature; sins in which we are all entangled. We acknowledge sins of commission and omission.

Having made our trek through the 40 days of Lent, we arrive at Holy Week. With the people who welcomed Jesus in Jerusalem, we greet him as our king though we know "his crown is thorns and his throne a cross" (p. 297, BAS). The palm branch we receive on that day is a sign that Christ's victory over sin and death comes through his self-offering on the cross. …

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