Thursday, February 11, 2016

Imposition on Foot: Ash Wednesday at the Transit Mall

It was great to see that the piece on Ash Wednesday this year was about the ritual of Imposition on the Transit Mall and on the sidewalks.

Ash Wednesday on the Transit Mall
Though it didn't dwell on any spiritual value in being on foot, it's not difficult to make an imaginative leap there. Pilgrimage is essentially about meditative and penitential walking, right?

A couple of years ago the story was about a drive-through Imposition, and while you have to meet people where they are, at the same time the ritual seemed diminished by the drive-through, perhaps even an unwise capitulation to autoism.

Drive-through imposition, 2014
Maybe the streetcorner "Ashes to Go" will stick in a way drive-through does not.

The change in focus is very nice to see, and even if Christianity or this form of it isn't your thing, it is possible to value its presence, a non-shouty one anyway, as seasoning in the diversity of a vibrant and cosmopolitan sidewalk life.

(For more on the history of Ashes to Go, see this by the Rev. Teresa K. M. Danieley, Rector, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Tower Grove, St. Louis, Missouri.)

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