This coming Wednesday, Christian Churches celebrate Ash Wednesday which denotes the beginning of Lent – the forty days of preparation for the significant celebration of Easter Sunday.
On Ash Wednesday, we will gather as a school community to begin this period of ‘spiritual boot camp’ – where we examine our lives, and our commitment to humbly live the gospel values of love,justice and peace.
As a symbol of the reality that none of us are immune from failing to reach the lofty heights of Christian perfection, we allow our foreheads to be marked with a sign of the cross. The gesture, made with ashes (and so hard to hide!), publically recognises our heart-felt awareness that we don’t always get things right: that we are imperfect and yet,always seeking personal and spiritual growth.
There is something quite remarkably beautiful about acknowledging our personal brokenness in this way – it is so counter-cultural! To look into another’s eyes (trying not to be distracted by the dark smudge on their forehead!) and own ‘I sometimes get things wrong and I own it and I want to improve’, is a courageous sign of a deep personal integrity.