I thought it was morbidly weird- ashen crosses on foreheads. My thought process was something like: Must we? That is what makes the world think the Christian religion is a bit freaky; so many outwards signs, symbols and rituals. And this… it’s just so sad looking.
We all wear marks. Some are visible, some invisible. Some chosen, some not.
Maybe it’s a scar from a surgery, the marks from birthing children or battlefield wounds. Perhaps our symbol is an intentional one like a tattoo with meaning behind it or a cross around our neck. Some could bear a scar with a darker message, from an attempted suicide or cutting- one to keep hidden at all costs.
Whatever the case, these are reminders, either for good or bad.
Likewise, the ashen cross marks us, reminds us, prepares us, sober us. The symbol of the cross bears the meaning that we are in need of saving and Someone has already done that. It reminds us that we carry that mark invisibly on our souls everyday because by faith, we belong to Another. It prepares us for one of the greatest events in human history- the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The 40 Lenten days of deprivation serve a somber purpose, but with the happiest of all endings- rejoicing in the greatest love ever given and the reason for a future hope.
I am a soul forever marked- one I bear with joy.