I went to receive ashes the other night and a funny thing struck me. There were no lay ministers smudging people’s foreheads and telling them they’d return to dust. Now, the church was at least as filled as a regular Sunday but everyone still got their ashes within ten minutes or so from the two priests on the altar.
And then compare this with Communion which occured about ten minutes later. Just before communion a stampede of Eucharistic Ministers stormed the altar “to help out.”
Us regular folk, we positively zoomed up towards the altar and had Jesus all but thrown at us by any number of “eucharistic ministers.” I literally hardly got out my “Amen” before the man in a sweater vest threw the eucharist in my hand.
If I were just someone who showed up at Church for the first time I would’ve thought those ashes were extraordinarily sacred while the piece of bread was something we all found a tad boring.
SO we either need to start getting lots and lots of “Ash ministers” or maybe…just maybe we could show a little reverence for the Eucharist.