Ash Wednesday

We had a wonderful start to our Lenten season tonight. We had the usual service of ashes, with scriptures and beautiful music. Tonight, I encouraged folks to see the message of Ash Wednesday being one of acknowledging our limitations. Especially when we are young, we like to imagine that we live without them. But as we grow through life, the truth is –whether it’s our ability to “help others,” or “seek justice,” whether it’s our careers or our physical health– eventually we run up against limitations. We bump against blocks and obstacle that others put in our way, or self-imposed ones. Or, we come face-to-face with the physical limits of just getting older.

The classic line of the day is “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return;” seen broadly as a call to acknowledge our mortality.

But what I suggested to everyone is that each of our limitations are, in a sense, little deaths that happen each and every day. Parts of us are always dying. New parts are always being born. There is power in acknowledging limits. But! There is power in then trusting that grace and power can still work through them, and in us, anyway.

The other really powerful piece of worship was our “Wailing Wall.” We have created a Wailing Wall in the sanctuary, along the “grid” that we normally have in the sanctuary. Like the real Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, seen to the left, people came forward and left prayers along it. Others will add to these prayers during the coming weeks, as we move toward Easter.

The Wailing Wall was very well received, and it’s always so gratifying when something the Worship Team envisions turns out well in real life.

So, for the creativity for our team, for a church that encourages it, and for all who came and were a part of Ash Wednesday, I am thankful.

(During this year, my goal is to find something new to be thankful for every single day, and to add that thanksgiving as a blog entry, under the title “My Daily Gratitude.” I started this kick back around Thanksgiving, and it’s already resulted in a favorite new song of mine. The goal of this ongoing spiritual exercise is to see if doing such a thing might inspire even more gratitude within me, and to foster general awareness of life on a deeper level.)

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of Kessler Park UMC United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Previously, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas for seventeen years. Eric loves to write on topics of spirituality, social justice, music/art and politics. The entries on this blog reflect that diversity of interests. His passion for social justice goes beyond mere words. He’s been arrested at the White House, defending immigrants and “The Dreamers,” and he’s officiated at same sex weddings in his churches, in defiance of what some believe is Methodist teaching. Eric is an avid blogger and published author, and 2017 recipient of the prestigeous Kuchling Humanitarian Award from Dallas’ Black Tie Dinner. (Human Rights Campaign) Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He’s a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named “best judge” by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County, and is currently the longest service district judge in that district. She was re-elected for a fourth term in 2018. They have the world’s best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. Find links to Eric’s music-related websites, at the top of this site’s navigation menu.

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