Ash Wednesday on Capitol Square

Here’s what the Capitol looked like from Grace this morning:

Quiet and beautiful.

It’s hard not to think about the protests when preparing for Ash Wednesday and Lent, particularly when dealing with a text like Joel 2. I attempted in my homily to make a connection between the communal repentance advocated in Joel and our usual focus, on Ash Wednesday and Lent, on personal repentance. I’m not sure whether I pulled it off, but I’ll post the homily in any case, in a few minutes.

I spent some time before the 12:10 service offering ashes to passers-by. A couple of protesters saw me from across the street and ran over. They were clearly from out of town, for one said, “I hoped somebody would be doing this.” There wasn’t a lot of foot traffic on the square, the weather probably kept people inside today but my little gesture of bringing the ashes out onto the street met with smiles, laughter, and acceptance. A number of people thanked me, and as one woman passed by, I heard her say, “Oh, yeah, I forgot it was Ash Wednesday.” I hope my presence there didn’t make her feel guilty.





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