As I write this, we just returned from the 7 p.m. Ash Wednesday service. The service was a perfect start to Lent, with readings and hymns urging us to be thoughtful, humble, and penitent. Starting much like any Rite II Eucharist, but ending with a silent walk out of the nave, this service offered a full range of liturgical expression–joyous, introspective, soaring, somber. As always, everyone did their part to make this a very special service, from the altar guild to the lay readers, the acolytes to the clergy, and every single parishioner who took time out of their busy lives to join us. The service was framed by lovely music, including a beautiful, soaring rendition of Allegri’s Miserere. From the oldest to the youngest members of the choir, we are blessed to have such amazing, dedicated musicians sharing their gift of music with us all.
But perhaps not surprisingly, what stood out in my mind after this service were the words of Bishop Hunn. He delivered a deceptively simple, but very powerful message. “Dust to dust” and “ashes to ashes” have been preached about in many ways, but the sermon tonight ruminated on one line from T.S. Eliot’s poem Ash Wednesday. There is certainly a lot to dissect in this lengthy poem, full of lush (and sometimes disturbing) imagery. He focused on one line: “Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still.” Out of this one simple line, he coaxed out the essence of Lenten reflection. If we are but dust and to dust we shall return, we could easily say we just don’t care—what does it matter anyway? Conversely, we are often so invested in our own lives, our own views, our own problems that we may care too much about things that we don’t have control over or that really don’t matter all that much. In this season of Lent, I hope that we can all take time to be still, to prayerfully contemplate what we should be focused on, and what we should let go.
The Cathedral offers many opportunities to engage in Christian fellowship and prayerful reflection this Lent. I hope that you will make the most of this season and arrive at Easter with renewed clarity and peace.
Faithfully, Zac Van Note, Senior Warden