Everywhere we look this week there is evidence of the challenge of living together. Whether it is the gut-wrenching pictures of Ukrainian dead and refugees, the halls of Congress at the State of the Union speech, PTO meetings discussing mask mandates, or deathbeds where adult children can’t come because of their choice not to be vaccinated, the strains of brokenness seem to abound.
This tension is evident as we seek to honor individuality and individual conscience and simultaneously seek the common good for the vitality of life together. There is an inherent struggle to find the way forward. And yet we know we must. Our children, peace, and the future of our planet demand it.
This week on Ash Wednesday I had the privilege of teaching our youngest students, ages 15 mos – 4 yrs old about dirt. I used the parable of the wheat falling to the earth; the earth being our ashes. When it came time I asked each child if they would like ashes to be placed on them to remember their connection to the dirt. The first 4-year-old in line stuck out her index finger for me to impose ashes on it. Those who wanted to participate stuck out their fingers or thumbs and looked at the ashes in amazement. I think my young friend was on to something.
If we look at the ashes we see our own mortality. If I look at your face I see yours. Both are true.
As St. Stephen’s revises our COVID policies, we will seek to strike this balance of honoring persons and community.
–The Reverend Lisa Hunt, Rector