I was raised in a Southern Baptist church - religiously speaking. Growing up, Easter meant a large crowd at church on Easter Sunday, lunch at Grandma's and Aunt Shirley's, egg hunts, and one year - a cantata. I won't say I had a low opinion of Easter, but in my mind, it was a "lesser" holiday that came and went largely unnoticed.
Then I joined the Federated Church here in Carlinville and for many years, my view of Easter continued. Then a few years ago, something wonderful happened. My pastor asked me to join the "Worship Team" at church. As we sat around the table discussing and planning an Ash Wednesday Service, I actually felt moved to attend. And when I got home, I was moved to write a song. My pastor and others on the committee talked about Ash Wednesday and all the symbolism tied to it. This was stuff I hadn't ever really delved into, but, as I said, I was extremely moved.
I have attended the Ash Wednesday service at church every year since then. And it moves me every time. Easter has become so much more to me - more than large crowds, candy, and eggs. It's more than a day I thank the Lord for the risen Christ. It's a whole season of self reflection. It has become a time to think about my life and my relationship with God. And let me tell you - Easter means so much more to me now thanks to Ash Wednesday.
So to kick off this season of Lent, I brought my trusty camera and took a few photos of my church-mates receiving ashes while my pastor in a low and loving voice declared, "from ashes you came and to ashes you shall return."
Blessing dear friends, in this season of Lent and always. I pray this spring brings you closer to what you are looking for.