For the last few years I have had the blessing of beginning my Ash Wednesday at an early morning service with the students, parents, faculty, and staff at Breck. It’s wonderful to participate in the launch into the Lenten season with this diverse community.
This year I was asked to be a part of the midmorning middle school Ash Wednesday service. The origin of this service comes from a now senior student when she was in her middle school years. It is my understanding that she thought it would be interesting to do a service that helped the students to better understand death. So the middle school Chaplain worked with her on our Ash Wednesday liturgy to develop a service that would work for the religiously diverse middle school population.
The readings, the prayers, the homily, and the opportunity to offer either the imposition of ashes or a blessing to an eclectic group of middle school students was very powerful. Regardless of the religious tradition and practice of their families, or lack thereof, the students were very respectful and very present in the moment.
One thing I said to the students was, “Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the journey towards our best self.” For me, part of that ‘best self’ is greater and greater awareness, appreciation, and respect for the multitude of all of God’s children… regardless of where they are on their spiritual journey. Being able to begin the Lenten journey with the young people at Breck was a great way for me to work towards being my best self.