This year we decided to do Ashes to Go, which takes the symbol of ashes and takes it out into the world.
My assistant and I took a pot of ashes, our sign, and blustering confidence to mask our nerves and went to our local university to invite people to celebrate a Holy Lent – on Valentine’s Day.
Now, if you want to talk about the liturgical implication of celebrating a Saint’s Day on Ash Wednesday, I’m not particularly interested. February 14th has entered into the popular imagination of our culture as a secular holiday. It just has.
This year I decided to invite folks to celebrate a Holy Lent using the vehicle of Valentine’s Day. The university has a Valentine’s Marketplace where we were able to get a booth and hand out chocolates (a tangible sign of love!) as well as distributing ashes to penitents. In addition, I used Canva to create these “valentines” to invite folks back to St. Paul’s.
We made some great connections, and for some of the students, it was the first time they met a conspicuously queer minister of the Gospel.
And we had a blast.