In the news: Taking ashes to the bus stop

Group 236

About 20 members of Christ Lutheran Church and Zion Baptist Church met near 16th Street and Colorado Avenue NW to offer prayers and ashes to commuters waiting at bus stops on the morning of Ash Wednesday.

Using ashes as a sign of repentance is an ancient practice, often mentioned in the Bible*. The imposition of ashes is often practiced at the beginning of the season of Lent.

The Washington Post did a short piece on the bus stop opportunity on Wed., Feb. 22. See a series of photos online.

1202ashcrossAshes symbolize several aspects of our human existence:

  • Ashes remind us of God’s condemnation of sin, as God said to Adam, “Dust you are and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). 
  • They suggest cleansing and renewal. They were used anciently in the absence of soap. On Ash Wednesday ashes are a penitential substitute for water as a reminder of our baptism. 
  • Ashes remind us of the shortness of human life, for it is said as we are buried: “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” 
  • They symbolize our need to repent, confess our sins, and return to God.

* See Jonah 3:5-9; Job 42:6; Jeremiah 6:26; Matthew 11:21.