BY REV. MARCUS L. LEATHERS
What non-traditional item gives sparks when it accompanies the tradition of Ash Wednesday? Glitter and Ash! Why are we using glitter ashes on Ash Wednesday and using Glitter + Ash as our Lent theme?
Glitter is like love. It’s irresistible and irrepressible. Ash is a statement that death and suffering are real. Glitter is a sign of our hope, which does not despair. Glitter signals our promise to repent, to show up, to witness, to work. Glitter never gives up—neither do we. Glitter + Ash exquisitely captures the relationship between death and new life. We do not live in fear of ash—of death —we place it on our foreheads for the world to see. We know that fear will rise, cramping our hearts. We also know that God specifically calls us not to project that fear onto the Other, the alien, the stranger in our midst. God insists that we look for the spark of life, of hope, in ourselves and one another. I would add that metaphorically, the spark of glitter is a reminder of the brief but intense light representing the glimpse of the kingdom that discipleship provides. For you and I, our witness declares that such a glimpse is magnificently enough. It is enough to inspire our devotion. It is enough to spark our volition as Christians. I hope that it is enough to convince you to get involved so that in service to God and UCP, this Lent season will be transformative for you.