Another Ash Wednesday has come and gone. With its emphasis on death, it is something of an acquired taste. This year's Ash Wednesday was fuller than the previous three I have experienced at St. Paul's, and we had many more students than in the past.
Late yesterday, the verdict was handed up in the trial of George Huguely; he was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend, Yeardley Love, when both were students at the University of Virginia. Her death has rocked this tight-knit community in ways that we are now only beginning to perceive.
We saw quite a number of women students (many I did not recognize) at our Ash Wednesday services yesterday, and I wonder if the trial had something to do with it. Somehow we were the right place to be for them, thanks be to God for that.
Ash Wednesday is a reminder of our mortality, that we are from dust and to dust we shall return. It is a reminder that our bodies will die and will become dust. But Ash Wednesday also has within it the spark of hope, that healing and wholeness can come even from the ashes. Easter will come. Not quite yet. But soon.