Ash Wednesday + Valentine’s Day = Liturgical Confusion

This year we decided to do Ashes to Go, which takes the symbol of ashes and takes it out into the world.

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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.

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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.

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