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ash wednesday 2011: true grit


"ash wednesday 2011: true grit"
mixed media collage on canvas
march 2011
gregory a. milinovich

today is ash wednesday. if you are a long-time reader of my blog, you may recall that this is one of my favorite days in the christian year. i know it seems odd that such a somber and sobering day would be so beloved to me, but it is. for one thing, i've always been a bit odd, so that's not really a surprise, but more importantly, i love the idea that we openly wear our brokenness on this day.

those of you who have heard me preach very much or have been reading these pages for awhile probably realize that brokenness is a common theme for me. i live in the constant awareness of this world's brokenness. even as i type these words, the news is on and they are telling me how bad the budget cuts are going to be in the state of pennsylvania and i quote: "those who are least able to afford it are going to have to bear the biggest part of the burden." oh, great. see what i mean? broken. the world is broken. budgets are broken. souls are broken. hearts are broken. bodies are broken. relationships are broken. my kids' favorite toys get broken.

and we spend so much time - especially in the church - pretending that we are fine and that the brokenness doesn't really apply to us. we hide our addictions and bad habits. we shove our skeletons in the closet and we sweep our ash and dirt under the rug.

except for today. today, for once, we wear our dirt right on our faces, as if we are living signs to the world to proclaim: we are broken. we are not as strong as we think we are.

i wish everyday could be more like ash wednesday, because i think that kind of honesty about our brokenness could make a huge difference in the way we interact with one another and tell the story of our faith. it would make the good news seem like more than a luxury: it would be clear that it is our only hope.

for the last five years i have made a collage as part of my own observance of ash wednesday:

2007


2008


2009


2010

this year my collage is dealing with true grit.  i don't want to give away my sermon, so if you want to find out what i'm talking about, join us for worship tonight at catawissa avenue umc at 319 catawissa avenue in sunbury at 7pm.  i hope you all have a blessed day, fully aware of your own brokenness and the only remedy. 

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