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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: GalRevRedux on February 17, 2021, 12:18:47 PM

Title: Remote ashes???
Post by: GalRevRedux on February 17, 2021, 12:18:47 PM
Well, we have all heard of "remote communion." Now, "remote ashes?" This was forwarded to me. (Identifiers are redacted.)

----------------------------------------------
Given the forecast for tomorrow, we are changing our plans.  Instead of a drive-in Ash Wednesday service at 6 p.m., we are inviting you to a 'Zoom-in' service instead - still at 6 p.m.  The link is in the attached document.

This abbreviated service will include imposition of ashes and Holy Communion; the full recorded non-communion service will still be available on our website and youtube channel at 5 p.m.

If you would like to participate in the Zoom-in service tomorrow, you may either pick up ashes and communion packets at the church from 4-6 p.m. today (2/16) or from 10-12 tomorrow (2/17).  You may also choose to provide your own communion elements (bread or cracker/wine or grape juice) and ashes - burnt palms from last year or simple household dust will do.  (If you need instructions on burning and preparing palm ash, please email pastor@xxxxx.xxx.)  (If you need to have ashes and communion sets dropped off for you, please contact xxxxxx at xxxx@xxxx.xxx.)

Hope to see you online tomorrow for Ash Wednesday and the beginning of our Lenten journey together.  Today - stay warm and safe and enjoy your pancakes/fastnachts/donuts/or whatever your Shrove Tuesday tradition might be.

In Christ,
Pr. XXXXXXX

------------------------------

"Simple household dust?"

SMH

Donna
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: Charles Austin on February 17, 2021, 12:36:45 PM
The mother told her son on ash Wednesday that “yes, dear, we come from dust and we shall return to dust“
That night the little boy comes running downstairs and says “mommy! Mommy! There’s someone under my bed and I don’t know whether he’s coming or going!“
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: Pr. Terry Culler on February 17, 2021, 12:42:14 PM
The mother told her son on ash Wednesday that “yes, dear, we come from dust and we shall return to dust“
That night the little boy comes running downstairs and says “mommy! Mommy! There’s someone under my bed and I don’t know whether he’s coming or going!“

I believe I first heard Danny Thomas tell this joke on his old show.  Am I now certifiably old?  :-\
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 17, 2021, 12:45:06 PM
I guess remote ashes doesn’t bother me the same “remote communion” does.
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: GalRevRedux on February 17, 2021, 12:54:29 PM
The mother told her son on ash Wednesday that “yes, dear, we come from dust and we shall return to dust“
That night the little boy comes running downstairs and says “mommy! Mommy! There’s someone under my bed and I don’t know whether he’s coming or going!“

That was the first thing that entered my mind when I read this! LOL
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: Dan Fienen on February 17, 2021, 01:22:41 PM
Since the Ashes are symbolic teleashes would not be problematic for me. The telecommunion raises all the issues previously discussed. House hold dust? Well, it does give opportunity for an oldie but goodie joke. Since Lentis a journey from Transfiguration to the Cross and the Empty Tomb of Easter we could perhaps consider the household dust as Easter Dust Bunnies.
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: John_Hannah on February 17, 2021, 01:48:42 PM
Since the Ashes are symbolic teleashes would not be problematic for me. The telecommunion raises all the issues previously discussed. House hold dust? Well, it does give opportunity for an oldie but goodie joke. Since Lentis a journey from Transfiguration to the Cross and the Empty Tomb of Easter we could perhaps consider the household dust as Easter Dust Bunnies.

 ;D
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 17, 2021, 01:55:24 PM
We did ashes the normal way in school chapel this morning and will again at two Divine Services this afternoon and evening. Nobody has to get them, but they're available to those who want them.
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: Weedon on February 17, 2021, 02:11:54 PM
As noted on another thread, we also did ashes the normal way. I think all but five people ended up receiving them; and of those five three were tardy for the Divine Service and so missed the imposition (which pastor does near the start of the liturgy).
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: FrPeters on February 17, 2021, 03:15:49 PM
But the question is surely relevant -- if not remote Word, remote Bible study, remote preaching, remote ashes, then why not Holy Communion?  We have learned in this pandemic to have everything delivered from soup to nuts to medicine to Sunday dinner, it is a hard lesson not to apply to the things of God's House.  We will be wrestling with this for a very long time -- including and especially those who do not see that virtual is by definition not real and that online is not a salutary substitute for much of anything to do with the church.
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on February 17, 2021, 03:24:40 PM
I gave a caveat about imposition of ashes this morning: I would not use a glove and would not wash between applications. Everyone but the musicians and a visitor came forward.
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on February 17, 2021, 03:35:23 PM
But the question is surely relevant -- if not remote Word, remote Bible study, remote preaching, remote ashes, then why not Holy Communion?  We have learned in this pandemic to have everything delivered from soup to nuts to medicine to Sunday dinner, it is a hard lesson not to apply to the things of God's House.  We will be wrestling with this for a very long time -- including and especially those who do not see that virtual is by definition not real and that online is not a salutary substitute for much of anything to do with the church.

The Docetics will always be with us...
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: David Garner on February 17, 2021, 03:53:05 PM
If we receive them via smartphone are they smart ashes?

I'll just show myself out......
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 17, 2021, 06:10:28 PM
This past Sunday I preached on the different meanings of “here” and the different senses in which it is true to say “It is good, Lord, that we are here.”
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on February 17, 2021, 08:05:27 PM
If we receive them via smartphone are they smart ashes?

I'll just show myself out......

Good idea after such incinderary language.
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: David Garner on February 17, 2021, 09:35:08 PM
If we receive them via smartphone are they smart ashes?

I'll just show myself out......

Good idea after such incinderary language.

 ;D
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: Dave Benke on February 18, 2021, 09:31:03 AM
What happened in NYC yesterday, among other practices:  https://nypost.com/2021/02/17/nyc-churches-give-to-go-packets-of-ash-for-ash-wednesday/

After a discussion with elders and leaders, we determined to use the Q-tip imposition methodology.  It worked well and was well-received, and all in attendance were imposed with the traditional words.  This takes - Q-tips arranged on a table in front of the altar in/next to a bowl of consecrated oil (oil of healing), next to the ashes.  The Q-tip is only handled by the Pastor, who rolls the Q-tip in the oil, inserts it in the ashes, imposes with the Q-tip and disposes of the Q-tip.  All are masked.   Two or three hymns were sung - Just As I Am being one of them.

The only addendum I included for those on live streaming was to ask them to make the sign of the cross on their forehead and over their heart as a baptismal remembrance, connecting it to the funeral liturgy (dust to dust) and then to their eternal destiny, at the same time as they were remembering the loved ones whom they mourn. 

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on February 18, 2021, 10:21:24 AM
FYI the swab dipped in oil (chrism) is the Orthodox method of distributing Holy Unction on Holy Wednesday.   Usual parish practice is to use the same swab for everyone (parallel to the Communion spoon).   We postponed the Unction service in 2020 until the Feast of the Unmercenary Healer St. Panteleimon on July 27.
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: Dave Benke on February 18, 2021, 10:23:49 AM
FYI the swab dipped in oil (chrism) is the Orthodox method of distributing Holy Unction on Holy Wednesday.   Usual parish practice is to use the same swab for everyone (parallel to the Communion spoon).   We postponed the Unction service in 2020 until the Feast of the Unmercenary Healer St. Panteleimon on July 27.

Thanks for this - that may happen at St. Peter's in Brooklyn at a time/date to be determined!  We had a lot of positive feedback last night, always in terms of the "Altar Call" being one where the supplicant receives grace and mercy from God.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on February 18, 2021, 11:58:58 AM
FYI the swab dipped in oil (chrism) is the Orthodox method of distributing Holy Unction on Holy Wednesday.   Usual parish practice is to use the same swab for everyone (parallel to the Communion spoon).   We postponed the Unction service in 2020 until the Feast of the Unmercenary Healer St. Panteleimon on July 27.

Thanks for this - that may happen at St. Peter's in Brooklyn at a time/date to be determined!  We had a lot of positive feedback last night, always in terms of the "Altar Call" being one where the supplicant receives grace and mercy from God.

Dave Benke

More than a quarter century ago I recall ELCA Pr. Richard Starr of blessed memory referring to Holy Communion as "the Lutheran 'altar call'".
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: peterm on February 18, 2021, 12:22:07 PM


After a discussion with elders and leaders, we determined to use the Q-tip imposition methodology.  It worked well and was well-received, and all in attendance were imposed with the traditional words.  This takes - Q-tips arranged on a table in front of the altar in/next to a bowl of consecrated oil (oil of healing), next to the ashes.  The Q-tip is only handled by the Pastor, who rolls the Q-tip in the oil, inserts it in the ashes, imposes with the Q-tip and disposes of the Q-tip.  All are masked.   Two or three hymns were sung - Just As I Am being one of them.

The only addendum I included for those on live streaming was to ask them to make the sign of the cross on their forehead and over their heart as a baptismal remembrance, connecting it to the funeral liturgy (dust to dust) and then to their eternal destiny, at the same time as they were remembering the loved ones whom they mourn. 

Dave Benke

We did the same in my parish last night.  I had to participate from home because my son has COVID.  I was glad for the opportunity to participate in some way.  I was surprised by how meaningful that virtual connection was.
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: Dave Benke on February 18, 2021, 02:26:47 PM


After a discussion with elders and leaders, we determined to use the Q-tip imposition methodology.  It worked well and was well-received, and all in attendance were imposed with the traditional words.  This takes - Q-tips arranged on a table in front of the altar in/next to a bowl of consecrated oil (oil of healing), next to the ashes.  The Q-tip is only handled by the Pastor, who rolls the Q-tip in the oil, inserts it in the ashes, imposes with the Q-tip and disposes of the Q-tip.  All are masked.   Two or three hymns were sung - Just As I Am being one of them.

The only addendum I included for those on live streaming was to ask them to make the sign of the cross on their forehead and over their heart as a baptismal remembrance, connecting it to the funeral liturgy (dust to dust) and then to their eternal destiny, at the same time as they were remembering the loved ones whom they mourn. 

Dave Benke

We did the same in my parish last night.  I had to participate from home because my son has COVID.  I was glad for the opportunity to participate in some way.  I was surprised by how meaningful that virtual connection was.

Yes - I was speaking with someone who watches a decent number of the live streaming broadcasts, and he said the interaction is in many ways dynamic and constant, with the feedback loop providing a forum for prayer needs, greetings among viewers, and expressions of support for actions being taken.  Virtual is not without meaning, and for shut-ins and those impacted right now, is the main source of spiritual meaning through word, song, prayer and interaction.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: RDPreus on February 18, 2021, 03:49:53 PM
Since I have never imposed ashes nor have I received them I don't suppose my opinion on this matters much, but it occurs to me that if someone wants to be reminded of his mortality and sin as he enters into Lent, he could simply impose ashes on his own forehead in the privacy of his own home.  The Sacrament belongs to the church and is administered by the pastor of the church when the church is assembled together.  But is the imposition of ashes a uniquely churchly function?  May not any Christian do this privately?   
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 18, 2021, 04:12:38 PM
Since I have never imposed ashes nor have I received them I don't suppose my opinion on this matters much, but it occurs to me that if someone wants to be reminded of his mortality and sin as he enters into Lent, he could simply impose ashes on his own forehead in the privacy of his own home.  The Sacrament belongs to the church and is administered by the pastor of the church when the church is assembled together.  But is the imposition of ashes a uniquely churchly function?  May not any Christian do this privately?
Sure. But I think the admonition “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (or variation thereof depending on the translation) carries more weight when administered by someone else, and comes most appropriately from the one called to speak God’s Word to that person. How anyone thinks Covid might transmit thumb to forehead seems odd to me. And my associate made the point that it is highly ironic to take such precautions about one’s mortal life in that context.
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: Dan Fienen on February 18, 2021, 04:16:29 PM
The imposition of ashes is a human ceremony, although an ancient and respected one that finds Biblical precedent. It becomes what we make of it. Use in private devotions should be fine, if so desired.


Some thoughts on ashes for Ash Wednesday.


The irony of being concerned about mortality and avoiding possibly spreading a mortal disease while participating in a ceremony to remind of our mortality is not lost on me. Yet the life that we are given here is itself a gift from God even though inevitably limited. The reminder of our limitations and reason for those limitations (sin) is a salutary one. But as God's gift to us, our life here is not to be squandered but treasured and used wisely, not arbitrarily cut short nor recklessly endangered. To be reminded of our mortality (dust you are and to dust you shall return) while seeking to assure that the reminder does not itself threaten to hasten that return to dust may be in a way ironic, but also reasonable precautions shows respect for that gift until God brings it to an end.


The imposition of ashes is a purely symbolic act, with no divinely mandated directives for the action. Christian freedom suggests that we may modify as we see fit for our immediate circumstances so long as those modifications do not turn it into mockery of the Gospel of which we should be reminded.


As to going about with the visible sign of ashes, does that violate Jesus' prohibition of making a show of our piety? What was Jesus' intent? Seems to me that Jesus was against those who would use visible signs of piety as self-promotion, "Look at me! look at how pious I am!" Wearing ashes, or a cross for that matter, to draw attention to my own faith and piety is condemned by Jesus. However, I doubt that many do so. Rather it is a personal reminder, and a witness to others not of MY faith, but of Jesus and His solution to my sin. Know yourself and why you show visible signs of piety. Self-examination is as difficult as it is important. We can often fool ourselves as easily as we try to fool others.
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: Dave Benke on February 18, 2021, 04:18:21 PM
Since I have never imposed ashes nor have I received them I don't suppose my opinion on this matters much, but it occurs to me that if someone wants to be reminded of his mortality and sin as he enters into Lent, he could simply impose ashes on his own forehead in the privacy of his own home.  The Sacrament belongs to the church and is administered by the pastor of the church when the church is assembled together.  But is the imposition of ashes a uniquely churchly function?  May not any Christian do this privately?

I think the short answer is Yes.  At the other end of the spectrum, the church through its pastor or spiritual leaders can take the ashes to homes for imposition, or to the subway stop/bus stop/7-11.  I can also say that no one I have ever met has told me that they applied ashes to themselves at home or anywhere else.

However, there is this:  I have always been drawn to the example of public penitence through sackcloth and ashes mandated by the ruling authority, as in Jonah, where upon hearing the one sentence message of the prophet, the king believes God and calls for a national day of penitence while sitting in ashes, including not only human beings but animals, all of which were decked out in the sackcloth and ashes befitting the rite.  Jonah didn't deck them out; it seems from the text that they took care of themselves.  And - God did not destroy the city, much to Jonah's dismay.  If that took place in Montana, I'm thinking the apparel cost for animals would far outstrip the cost for humans, no?  Who was the happiest man in Ninevah?  The Producer of Sackcloth.

Not insubstantially to the overall theme of Lent, the time-frame for destruction given to the Ninevites absent repentance is ------ 40 days. 

Out of curiosity, when during the service do you make the sign of the cross (at a service of Holy Communion), if you're in the pastoral role?

Dave Benke
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: RDPreus on February 18, 2021, 04:28:47 PM
Since I have never imposed ashes nor have I received them I don't suppose my opinion on this matters much, but it occurs to me that if someone wants to be reminded of his mortality and sin as he enters into Lent, he could simply impose ashes on his own forehead in the privacy of his own home.  The Sacrament belongs to the church and is administered by the pastor of the church when the church is assembled together.  But is the imposition of ashes a uniquely churchly function?  May not any Christian do this privately?

I think the short answer is Yes.  At the other end of the spectrum, the church through its pastor or spiritual leaders can take the ashes to homes for imposition, or to the subway stop/bus stop/7-11.  I can also say that no one I have ever met has told me that they applied ashes to themselves at home or anywhere else.

However, there is this:  I have always been drawn to the example of public penitence through sackcloth and ashes mandated by the ruling authority, as in Jonah, where upon hearing the one sentence message of the prophet, the king believes God and calls for a national day of penitence while sitting in ashes, including not only human beings but animals, all of which were decked out in the sackcloth and ashes befitting the rite.  Jonah didn't deck them out; it seems from the text that they took care of themselves.  And - God did not destroy the city, much to Jonah's dismay.  If that took place in Montana, I'm thinking the apparel cost for animals would far outstrip the cost for humans, no?  Who was the happiest man in Ninevah?  The Producer of Sackcloth.

Not insubstantially to the overall theme of Lent, the time-frame for destruction given to the Ninevites absent repentance is ------ 40 days. 

Out of curiosity, when during the service do you make the sign of the cross (at a service of Holy Communion), if you're in the pastoral role?

Dave Benke

I would make the sign of the cross over the elements when singing the words of institution, specifically, during the words "take eat" and "drink of it all of you."  I would make the sign of the cross over the communicants when dismissing them from the Communion rail.  And I would make the sign of the cross over the congregation when pronouncing the Benediction.  I don't cross myself. 
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on February 18, 2021, 05:58:35 PM
As to going about with the visible sign of ashes, does that violate Jesus' prohibition of making a show of our piety? What was Jesus' intent? Seems to me that Jesus was against those who would use visible signs of piety as self-promotion, "Look at me! look at how pious I am!" Wearing ashes, or a cross for that matter, to draw attention to my own faith and piety is condemned by Jesus. However, I doubt that many do so. Rather it is a personal reminder, and a witness to others not of MY faith, but of Jesus and His solution to my sin. Know yourself and why you show visible signs of piety. Self-examination is as difficult as it is important. We can often fool ourselves as easily as we try to fool others.

Several years ago the District Attorney of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania held an Ash Wednesday news conference at which he announced some serious indictments against several public figures.

There was an interesting and appropriate gravitas conveyed by the fact that DA Marsico was sporting the ash cross on his forehead.  Mortal indicting mortal, sinner indicting sinner.
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: Padre Emeritus on February 24, 2021, 03:39:35 PM
Since I have never imposed ashes nor have I received them I don't suppose my opinion on this matters much, but it occurs to me that if someone wants to be reminded of his mortality and sin as he enters into Lent, he could simply impose ashes on his own forehead in the privacy of his own home.  The Sacrament belongs to the church and is administered by the pastor of the church when the church is assembled together.  But is the imposition of ashes a uniquely churchly function?  May not any Christian do this privately?

I think the short answer is Yes.  At the other end of the spectrum, the church through its pastor or spiritual leaders can take the ashes to homes for imposition, or to the subway stop/bus stop/7-11.  I can also say that no one I have ever met has told me that they applied ashes to themselves at home or anywhere else.

However, there is this:  I have always been drawn to the example of public penitence through sackcloth and ashes mandated by the ruling authority, as in Jonah, where upon hearing the one sentence message of the prophet, the king believes God and calls for a national day of penitence while sitting in ashes, including not only human beings but animals, all of which were decked out in the sackcloth and ashes befitting the rite.  Jonah didn't deck them out; it seems from the text that they took care of themselves.  And - God did not destroy the city, much to Jonah's dismay.  If that took place in Montana, I'm thinking the apparel cost for animals would far outstrip the cost for humans, no?  Who was the happiest man in Ninevah?  The Producer of Sackcloth.

Not insubstantially to the overall theme of Lent, the time-frame for destruction given to the Ninevites absent repentance is ------ 40 days. 

Out of curiosity, when during the service do you make the sign of the cross (at a service of Holy Communion), if you're in the pastoral role?

Dave Benke

I would make the sign of the cross over the elements when singing the words of institution, specifically, during the words "take eat" and "drink of it all of you."  I would make the sign of the cross over the communicants when dismissing them from the Communion rail.  And I would make the sign of the cross over the congregation when pronouncing the Benediction.  I don't cross myself.

Curious on 2 things:

1. Do you have an Ash Wednesday service in your parish?  If so, and you don’t use ashes, why?  If the sacramental of imposing ashes is not Lutheran, why is Ash Wednesday in the Lectionary?

2.  When you make the Sign of the Cross over your people either at Holy Communion dismissal or in the Benediction, do they “cross themselves”?
Title: Re: Remote ashes???
Post by: RDPreus on February 24, 2021, 04:04:37 PM
Since I have never imposed ashes nor have I received them I don't suppose my opinion on this matters much, but it occurs to me that if someone wants to be reminded of his mortality and sin as he enters into Lent, he could simply impose ashes on his own forehead in the privacy of his own home.  The Sacrament belongs to the church and is administered by the pastor of the church when the church is assembled together.  But is the imposition of ashes a uniquely churchly function?  May not any Christian do this privately?

I think the short answer is Yes.  At the other end of the spectrum, the church through its pastor or spiritual leaders can take the ashes to homes for imposition, or to the subway stop/bus stop/7-11.  I can also say that no one I have ever met has told me that they applied ashes to themselves at home or anywhere else.

However, there is this:  I have always been drawn to the example of public penitence through sackcloth and ashes mandated by the ruling authority, as in Jonah, where upon hearing the one sentence message of the prophet, the king believes God and calls for a national day of penitence while sitting in ashes, including not only human beings but animals, all of which were decked out in the sackcloth and ashes befitting the rite.  Jonah didn't deck them out; it seems from the text that they took care of themselves.  And - God did not destroy the city, much to Jonah's dismay.  If that took place in Montana, I'm thinking the apparel cost for animals would far outstrip the cost for humans, no?  Who was the happiest man in Ninevah?  The Producer of Sackcloth.

Not insubstantially to the overall theme of Lent, the time-frame for destruction given to the Ninevites absent repentance is ------ 40 days. 

Out of curiosity, when during the service do you make the sign of the cross (at a service of Holy Communion), if you're in the pastoral role?

Dave Benke

I would make the sign of the cross over the elements when singing the words of institution, specifically, during the words "take eat" and "drink of it all of you."  I would make the sign of the cross over the communicants when dismissing them from the Communion rail.  And I would make the sign of the cross over the congregation when pronouncing the Benediction.  I don't cross myself.

Curious on 2 things:

1. Do you have an Ash Wednesday service in your parish?  If so, and you don’t use ashes, why?  If the sacramental of imposing ashes is not Lutheran, why is Ash Wednesday in the Lectionary?

2.  When you make the Sign of the Cross over your people either at Holy Communion dismissal or in the Benediction, do they “cross themselves”?

In answer to your first question, Lutherans largely abandoned the imposition of ashes in the 16th century.  Chemnitz wrote against it.  So you would have to consult Chemnitz for an answer to this question.  Many Lutherans resumed this lost practice in the last century.  Many did not.  In answer to your second question, I would say that maybe one quarter of the people cross themselves.