last night, after our ash wednesday service had ended, Quinton couldn't wait to get home. he was squirming with excitement, and he kept telling me that as soon as we got home, i had to wash my forehead, to clean off my ashes. he must have asked three different times if i would wash my forehead as soon as got home. finally i asked him why he was so concerned about it. he told me that he wanted to "stamp" me. i wasn't sure what that was, but with Quin i have learned to just roll with it.
so we didn't even have our coats off when he was coming at me with a wipe. he disappeared for a moment while i cleaned off the ash from a repentant beginning to lent, and he returned with a little hollow plastic block. checking to make sure my forehead was sufficiently clean, he proceeded to dip his fingers into the block, into what i assume were imaginary ashes. he reached up towards my face, and i bent down so he could reach, and he pretended to "stamp" my forehead, just like he had seen me do earlier that night. as he touched my forehead, and with great seriousness, he said, "make sure Jesus doesn't have to die on the cross for you."
insert the sigh of a parent who is overflowing with love for their child, and wishing they would never grow up here.
his desire to imitate me was adorable, but his extreme urgency about it was most impressive. his theology might not be perfect, but his thinking was that we are supposed to live in a way that makes Jesus happy.
i wish it were that easy. unfortunately, the burnt and broken ash stamped on my head tells a different story. not only that Jesus had to die for me, but that my sin put him there. but here's the good news: Jesus did die for me. Jesus did die for love. and that is the real stamp i bear. and, like Quinton says, i want to live in such a way that Jesus' death wasn't in vain. i want to live like the Love-that-lays-down-its-life really matters.
thanks, Quin. and as i touch my lips to your forehead tonight, i'll be saying these words: make sure you never forget how much you are loved. and i'll try and do the same.