Ash Blessings

by Ashley Makar | February 22, 2023 |

No need to profess a thing.

It’s Ash Wednesday, and I’m excited. Not because I like to dwell on death. I just love ashes: the fire and matter, this rite of passage, this riverboat of living and dying we’re all in. 

As far as I know, drawing the cross in ashes on foreheads is the only unconditional ritual of the church. You don’t have to be ordained or even baptized to give ashes. And to get an Ash Wednesday blessing, no need to profess a thing: Just receive, in a dark smudge, the dust-to-dust of us, the particles of stars on your skin. 

This afternoon, I’ll receive ashes on the New Haven Green, then offer ashes at the hospital where I do two shifts a week as a chaplain. I’ll walk around the ICU, the cafeteria, the psych

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