On this evening I choose to participate in Glitter Ashes at the end of a Glitter Filled Masquerade Ball.

img_2680Actually deeper than that, I choose to intentionally invite a group of people who for many reasons have felt unwelcome at church… for whom the space that I consider so sacred and holy has been a closed door (as it has at times been for me).  We offered glitter ashes, not for the LGBTQ community, but rather for the community of revelers, partiers, dancers, revolution starters, justice and pleasure seekers and workers.  Because God travels with us into our many sanctuaries, and cries along side us in our times of grief and those are way too often.  And if God is always really with us,  and I believe God is: then glitter and tears and smell goods and stale messes all mixed into what became our sacred ashes.

Yeah, that is why I offered up Glitter Infused Ashes!  Because God is with us in all of our truth.  Because when the text says that God tattooed us on the palm of God’s hand it does not have a list of who was excluded, rather it reads, thus says the Lord: “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16a). Just me, and you and you…each of us in our whole truth.  Without exception, without conditions: we are simply loved just as we are and that love transcends all and every identity marker because it is not your identity that is imprinted on God’s hand, it is just all of you!  That is LOVE!

And if Ash Wednesday is a day when we who are Christian can boldly-fiercely-publicly call out our faith.  Reclaim it, point people in the direction of Christ then…

So…thinking about my interactions over the last few days and weeks.  Thinking about specific stories and moments and processing what it could look like if rather than holding them internally I shared stories for lent: IMAGINE! A world where we intentionally see our neighbors and hear their stories with our hearts.

My lenten practice this year will be to be present and be quiet: to give up my own voice whenever possible.  To authentically engage in being present to others.  To listen to their stories, to help capture them, to help share them in their truth.  To take notes (sometimes mental) and learn from other’s stories.  I will share a portion of the story… and at some point after Lent, will REFLECT on what the story taught me, how it may have influenced me, how it affected me; knowing that this each story is only a part of a bigger narrative that I am we are not fully present to.