Begin with a definition.
imposition (noun): an unfair or unwanted burden or demand.
My alarm was set later than normal yesterday. I don’t know why, but I felt that I would need twenty – three minutes more sleep when I groggily checked the time at some dark hour of the night when a child or a cat had made some noise that interrupted my sleep. So, the odd time of 6:23 chimed and my alarm read: high school. I put the phone alarm down and rubbed my itchy forehead.
Waking up with ashes on my forehead happens voluntarily once a year – the day after Ash Wednesday, and I always struggle with the fact that I will be washing them off as I begin my day. So I laid there and intentionally reminded myself of the evening before – thinking about the words and the songs and the idea of ashes being an imposition.
How can something I voluntarily choose to do be called an imposition?
Why choose an unwanted burden?
There is something beautiful about a physical reminder that we are people loved by a God who came and lived our very existence. Tempted by the wonders of this beautifully broken world. One who refused those temptations, but died a criminal’s death so that our giving into those temptations could be forgiven.
He chose the imposition of death, we choose the imposition ashes.
Reminders are important.
I nearly made it through the Ash Wednesday service without bawling, but the music got me. There is something about a song/Psalm that speaks in the first person about a people so broken and so loved that speaks out of my mouth and directly into my heart.
I rewrite the lyrics today, tears again, just to remember:
Although we are weeping
Lord, help us keep sowing
The seeds of Your Kingdom
For the day You will reap them
Your sheaves we will carry
Lord, please do not tarry
All those who are weeping will go out with songs of joy…..
Imposing Ashes and denying temptation for 40 days.
Verbal, tactile, and visceral reminders of our own brokenness and of the Grace offered to mend it..
Happy Friday, Mindful Lent.