Thursday, February 23, 2012

Subway Prayers of Ash

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the day when Christians (and from what I experienced, non-Christians) receive ashes on their forehead in the sign of the cross along with the words "remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return" to remind them of their mortality, the preciousness of life, and that even in suffering and death, God is with them.

To honor the day, I went out onto the streets and subway stations of Brooklyn to give out ashes to anyone who wanted them.  I spent an hour at Macri Triangle in Williamsburg, an hour in the Metropolitan G subway station in front of the boulder in this mosaic,
(a few people appreciated the juxtaposition and took pictures of me)

and an hour in the Atlantic Terminal subway station, where I teamed up with the awesome folks from St. Lydia's Dinner Church.  

As I handed out ashes, I would also invite people to write a prayer in ash on a 2'x4' canvas: 

While many more people passed by in the subway station (and hence many more received ashes) than on the street, most were in a hurry and did not have time to write prayers.  However, those who did seemed to appreciate the experience and would often share with me a story behind what they had written.  As a result, I not only blessed strangers with a reminder of the fragility of life, but they also blessed me with a reminder of how beautiful that life is. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful outreach! very gutsy