It’s All About Love

It's All About Love

This year, in a somewhat unusual occurrence, Ash Wednesday and St. Valentine’s Day coincide. For some, this is a really bizarre juxtaposition: we celebrate the romantic love we may share with another human being on the same day ashes are plastered on our foreheads and we are told to remember we are “dust and to dust we shall return.”

Do I go to church or out to dinner? (We have services at noon and 7 so you can do both!). Do I give up dessert or eat heart shaped chocolates (You’re on your own for that one). Yet in a sense this is a perfect pairing.

On St. Valentine’s Day we reflect on the love we share with others, on Ash Wednesday we reflect on the love God shares with us—the God who created us in love, walks with us in love, and loves us into eternity. The ashes on our foreheads indeed remind us that this life is finite, but also therefore what we do with them is important. How much we love like God loves us is important. The ashes also remind us that while sin and death are our reality, so is life—life after this life, and new life within this life. Death does not have the last word, now or at the end. New possibilities, new ways of being, new life, are always and eternally God’s offer to us.

So I invite you to begin your Lenten journey this year with someone you love by your side and the ashes that are the mark of the One who created you in love and who loves you extravagantly and endlessly, through this life and into the next, on your forehead.

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The Rev. Claire Nevin-Field is the rector of St. Peter's Church.

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