Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017
WE WILL BE SEEN
Glitter is like love. It’s irresistible and irrepressible.
WE WILL TELL THE TRUTH
Ashes are 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 -- and neither do we.
Why Now? Why Glitter?
THE NEED FOR PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIAN WITNESS HAS NEVER BEEN MORE URGENT.
Glitter is an inextricable element of queer history. It is how we have displayed our gritty, scandalous hope. We make ourselves fabulously conspicuous, giving offense to the arbiters of respectability that allow coercive power to flourish.
Glitter+Ash is an inherently queer sign of Christian belief, blending symbols of mortality and hope, of penance and celebration. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, a season of repentance. During Lent, Christians look inward and take account in order to move forward with greater health. At this moment in history, glitter ashes will be a powerful reminder of St. Augustine’s teaching that we cannot despair because despair paralyzes, thwarting repentance and impeding the change that we are called to make.
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. This Ash Wednesday, we will make that spark easier to see. We will stand witness to the gritty, glittery, scandalous hope that exists in the very marrow of our tradition.
How Do I Get Involved?
COMMIT TO BEING PART OF THE ACTION
Plan to get ashes early on Ash Wednesday and wear them throughout the day.
If you belong to a church, contact your priest or pastor to see if they are holding an Ash Wednesday service or an “Ashes To Go” event in a nearby public space. Ask if they will be offering glitter ashes (and direct them here if they have no idea what that is!). If they are participating, GO, and bring friends!
CHOOSE A LENTEN ACTION
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the season of Lent. Because Glitter+Ash is all about stepping up, instead of "giving something up" for Lent we are suggesting that people commit to a Lenten Action: a specific action, chosen by you, to promote resurrection. We will each pledge to put energy into a cause that promotes life and health in the face of death-dealing forces in our world.
SPREAD THE WORD ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Make a short video to let people know that you are getting Glitter+Ash. Tell us what your Lenten Action will be, and challenge some friends to do the same! Be sure to use the hashtag #GlitterAshWednesday. You can see a sample video here.
How do I organize a Glitter+Ash site?
For Clergy and Churches
Offering glitter ashes will present an opportunity to breathe fresh life into your liturgy, recapture the surprise in the Christian message, and draw new people into your worship. There are many options for how you might do this:
- Offer a designated “Glitter+Ash” service on Ash Wednesday
- Have a designated station for glitter ashes at one of your regular Ash Wednesday services
We will be posting suggestions for liturgy and prayers on this site in the coming week. Please sign up for alerts to get this material as it becomes available. If you are creating your own liturgy and would like to share it, please let us know!
If you don’t belong to a church or can’t find one that is offering ashes, you can organize your own Glitter+Ash event. Offering ashes is a simple act of penitence and worship that can be done by anyone -- you don’t need to be ordained. You will need:
- Ashes that have been blessed, with Glitter -- which you can order below.
- A public place to offer glitter ashes, and a way to publicize it. We recommend joining forces with at least one or two other people to offer the ashes.
- We will be posting instructions on how to impose ashes in the coming week, along with a handout that you can print and distribute to people who receive your Glitter+Ash on Ash Wednesday. Please sign up for alerts to get these materials as they become available.