Author Topic: Remote ashes???  (Read 6490 times)

David Garner

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Re: Remote ashes???
« Reply #15 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
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Dave Benke

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Re: Remote ashes???
« Reply #16 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

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Re: Remote ashes???
« Reply #17 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.
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Dave Benke

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Re: Remote ashes???
« Reply #18 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.

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J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Remote ashes???
« Reply #19 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'".
Greek Orthodox-Ecumenical Patriarchate

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Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Chrismated Antiochian Orthodox, eve of Mary of Egypt Sunday, A.D. 2015

peterm

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Re: Remote ashes???
« Reply #20 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.
Rev. Peter Morlock- ELCA pastor serving two congregations in WIS

Dave Benke

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Re: Remote ashes???
« Reply #21 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

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Re: Remote ashes???
« Reply #22 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?   

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Re: Remote ashes???
« Reply #23 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.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Remote ashes???
« Reply #24 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.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Dave Benke

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Re: Remote ashes???
« Reply #25 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

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Re: Remote ashes???
« Reply #26 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. 

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Re: Remote ashes???
« Reply #27 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.
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Re: Remote ashes???
« Reply #28 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”?
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Re: Remote ashes???
« Reply #29 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.