Just Add Oil (Ash Wednesday)

March 4th, 2014

If you've planned your first Ash Wednesday worship, congratulations!

Let me give you a piece of advice that I wish someone had given me. If you must add a small amount of liquid

Just add oil!

Don't add water—water and ashes don't mix. Well, they do, but mixed with water ashes will irritate your skin and burn. And when washing off the remnants, it's good to wipe them off with oil or a tissue first.

I'm an expert on this because I added a small amount of water one year. Although it provided a reminder for me that I was celebrating the season of Lent, I seriously doubt the people who attended Ash Wednesday that year had the same appreciation! I've never been more thankful for a small attendance in worship then or since.

If you use oil, my preference is olive oil; vegetable oil will work too. I've used olive oil in healing services and in prayer with people at other times. Regular olive oil works fine; you don't have to purchase expensive oil. Ask if your pastor has a preference for both the oil and how it is displayed—probably not in the original container.

My prayer is that your first Ash Wednesday worship will be meaningful for those who attend and for you! I've learned that it's easy to get caught up in the details of worship that we don't experience worship. 

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