Ash Wednesday is when we get marked for our Lenten journey. We get a little dirt rubbed on our foreheads as a reminder to ourselves “you are dust and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). This is our brush with death. Trust me, it’s not because we like being here – we live in a world where we try to stretch, inject, and cut out any appearance of death that tries to show up on our body.
And yet, on Ash Wednesday we dab ashes on our foreheads in the sign of a cross as a way of saying we refuse to be intimidated by death. The cross on the forehead is a sign of redemption. We wear it boldly to let others know that death does not have the last word.We walk confidently through this Lenten wilderness with the assurance that on the horizon there is a light coming from an empty grave.