The party’s over. Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, AKA Mardi Gras, and now the period of Lent has begun for millions of Catholics and similar high-church believers around the world. That means today is Ash Wednesday, one of the holier days in the Christian world’s calendar, and that means you’re going to be seeing people with dirty foreheads. Traditionally, Ash Wednesday services are marked by a cross made of ashes and oil on the believer’s forehead, as an outward sign of repentance and human mortality, but these days, who has time to actually go to a church and show reverence and possibly miss a few hours of work in the process? No one. That’s why Ash Wednesday drive-by services are becoming increasingly common.
The name is there on the door; you drive to a specific location, roll down your window, get blessed with ashes, and go on about your day, your Ash Wednesday duties officially absolved for the year. There seems to be a central theme to these events: get the church into the world and make receiving Ash Wednesday rites more convenient while reducing the intimidation factor for the folks that don’t regularly attend church. It must be a successful idea, because churches around the country are increasingly joining their efforts to make Ash Wednesday ashes available outside of the four walls of the local church.
“We are trying to get our church outside the four walls of our church building,” said Rev. John Higginbotham of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Tiverton, Rhode Island. “We are really trying hard to get the church into the community.”
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, 40 or so days of abstaining from specific worldly pleasures (like meat on Friday, drinking, smoking, or general partying) that ends with Easter.
Tags: lent, ash wednesday, christianity, christian church, ashes to go, mobile ash wednesday service, ash wednesday drive-through service, unusual church services, unusual church ideas, unusual ash wednesday services, ash wednesday mobile, holy trinity episcopal church, tiverton, rhode island, john higginbotham