(how do you do a tilde in WordPress, anyway?)
Last week, the only time I could attend an Ash Wednesday service was at 7 p.m.–the bilingual service. There was a smattering of English, but really, this was a Spanish service.
It was like being in a completely different church.
I arrived a few minutes before the service started and had to stand in the back, along with over 100 other people. No one really minded. There were laborers (just off work) and women in heels (just off work) and men in dockers (just off work). Near me was a teenage boy with an actual nail through his ear.
Oh, and there were kids everywhere!
All the little girl babies with their tiny gold earrings. All the little boy babies, hoisted on their fathers’ shoulders. All the little kids, laying down on the ground, under the pews, playing with the lines in the floor. Sure, some kids cried. They got passed around until they quieted down.
When it came time to kneel, I wasn’t sure what the etiquette was in the back of the church, but everyone dropped to their knees. And not the wimpy way where you sit back on your heels. This was kneeling straight up.
By the time the collection plate reached the back of the church, it was overflowing–with cash. People were patting it down as they passed it. One woman near me put in change. I guess it was what she had on her.
At this church, we hold hands when we pray the Lord’s Prayer. The man next to me had the roughest hands I’ve ever held. He sang every song.
When we finally received our ashes, they were the blackest ashes I’ve ever seen in my life. No hiding this symbol.
It was just nice to see another side of Christianity, one that’s been a thriving part of my small town all along.