Together on Ash Wednesday

Yesterday, Ash Wednesday. The service at my church was in the evening and when I looked at the calendar late in the afternoon found that it was half hour earlier than I thought. I hadn't yet come to the stopping point in my work project and had no dinner plan and would have to rush to get there on time and it looked cold outside and I was tired. So many reasons to stay home. I told myself that individual devotion was what mattered, and that I could as easily attend to the reminder of Ash Wednesday (From dust you came and to dust you will return) and the call of Ash Wednesday (Repent and believe) at home. But I went. Sitting in the pews with others who had probably also rushed to get there; listening together to the spoken Word; standing in a long line to receive the streaks of ash (the burned byproduct of palms waved by this same group the Palm Sunday before) and the bread and the cup; watching the children and the teens; bearing each other's burdens in post-service conversation and with promises to pray, I was reminded. We're in this together.