Eugene Cho

ash wednesday primer and gathering

ashwednesdayluidliwanagafpgetty

This is from last year but still helpful for those who are not familiar with the purpose of Ash Wednesday.

For 2010, Quest is holding their ASH WED service on Wednesday, February 17 (7-8am). There is also a Family Ash WED event that same night from 6.30-8.15pm. All the info can be found at http://seattlequest.org

Depending on your background, you may or may not be familiar with Ash Wednesday or otherwise referred to as ‘Day of Ashes.’  It marks the beginning of the Lent season as we journey towards the Holy Week in the Christian calendar.  The Lent season culminates with Good Friday [Dark Friday] and Resurrection Sunday.

And a simple primer from Beliefnet:

What is Ash Wednesday?
Also known as dies cinerum, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, a penitential season observed by many Christians. While the exact date of Ash Wednesday varies from year to year, it is always in either the month of February or March, depending on where Easter falls in the liturgical year. On Ash Wednesday, worshippers attend services at which they receive ashes on their foreheads. The pastor marks the forehead of each worshipper, often saying “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

Where do the ashes come from?
The ashes consist of burned palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday service. The ashes are blessed by a priest or pastor.

Why do people receive ashes?
Ashes are viewed throughout Christian history as a symbol of humility and sacrifice for those who wear them.

In earlier times, Christians who committed serious sins did public penance. As part of this, they were sprinkled with ashes and required to wear sackcloths. In later years, penitents were also turned away from their place of worship for the entire season of Lent until Holy (Maundy) Thursday, by which time they had atoned for their sins. Eventually all Christians came to receive ashes in acts of devotion as well.

Why do people fast on Ash Wednesday?
While Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation, it is the start of one of the most important seasons in the Christian liturgical year. Since fasting is an integral part of the Lenten season, it is strongly encouraged, and even required, of most Christian worshippers on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Catholics and members of some other denominations also abstain from meat on all Fridays during Lent.

How long does Lent last?
Lent (also referred to as the Great Lent in Orthodox Christian traditions) is the period from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday (Pascha), and lasts six and a half weeks. The final week of Lent is called Holy Week; during this period, observant Christians reflect specifically on the last days of Jesus Christ’s life. During Lent, Christians purify themselves by praying, fasting, repenting of their sins, and making changes and sacrifices in their lives.

[Photo by Luis Liwanaga/AFP/Getty]

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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