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The Antelope

The Antelope

Lent is the season for prayer, forgiveness and charity

Alex displays his “glitter and ashes”. Photo by Alex Hammeke / Antelope Staff

Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the day where Christians start the solemn season of Lent. It’s the 40 days of preparation to observance of the sacrifice Jesus gave for us with his death on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

The start of the season is marked by fasting — one full meal and the other two meals being snacks more than anything — and abstinence from red and white meat. 

Yesterday’s diet included, with no snacks in between:

  • A plain bagel for Breakfast. Usually, I schmear the cream cheese high and mighty on both sides and eat it with two cups of coffee. If I wake up early enough, sometimes I add a scrambled egg. 
  • A Snickers bar for lunch 
  • And two large orders of Chick-Fil-A waffle fries for dinner and a fruit cup.

Every Friday during this season, Catholics abstain from meat. So then, it’s FISH FRY SEASON! And, the season of endlessly tweeting about food options for lent. 

The start of lent is marked with the Ash Wednesday service that marks the sign of the cross on one’s forehead to remind us that, as Genesis 3:19 states, “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

This year I went to two Ash Wednesday services. The first one was a noon word service at the St. Teresa of Calcutta Newman Center, where I regularly attend. The second was in the building across the gravel alleyway from the Newman Center, at Campus Lutheran (ELCA).

Their service was “glitter and ashes” and yes, the glitter sparked the intellectual curiosity. They combined sparkly glitter with the ashes of last year’s Palm Sunday. 

The darkness and reflection of these 40 days, combined with the reflection of bright light? 

And so, I went.

It was a free-flowing service, in which my catholic upbringing of 20+ years had me feel a bit uneasy with. In my mind, I was thinking: 

Where are the pews?

I’m sitting at a round table!

Laypeople reading the Gospel?

Pastor Liz saying, “As a called and ordained minister of the church of Christ, and by his authority, I declare you the entire forgiveness of all your sins‽”

Dipping my communion bread in the wine chalice proper?

There was a lot that was different between the services, and it was a bit of a culture shock. But a culture shock I was kind of expecting.

The ashes, however, were the reason for going.

And while some of the format and structure of the service was a culture shock, the message wasn’t.

Yes, the ashes still represent the finiteness of our own lives. The mere realization that we are from dust, and to dust we shall return. 

But the glitter is there to also remind us that we are meant to shine the light of Jesus Christ and his good news. Whether that light comes from others, and we reflect that light, or we draw from within to project the light and joy that his death and resurrection gives us. 

Yes, this lent, like all others, is the time for reflection. 




But it isn’t a time to stop spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, shining his light and proclaiming his message.

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