My favorite color is glitter. It’s true, I even have a shirt that says so. So you’d think I’d be the first one to jump on the glitter ash train! Actually, I couldn’t even get to church at all this Ash Wednesday since I have two kids under age two at home. But, anyway, let’s explore what these glitter ashes mean. According to the Washington Post, “The Glitter Ash project,created by New York nonprofit Parity, encouraged clergy to mix glitter into the ashes this year, to represent the inclusion of LGBT people in Christian life.” Wow, that’s nice, and pretty, I bet. Not being facetious. I bet it really was pretty.
To be honest, it is a shame-SHAME- that gay people have felt, with VERY good reason, excluded from the Christian community. Sadly, that is the one proclivity that has met with more disdain and scorn than any other. Just think of the Westboro Baptist Church, those of “God hates fags” fame. And the Bible does have much to say about homosexual behavior–as it does about lying, stealing, and drunk behavior, but for some reason, those just haven’t been seen as “bad” as homosexual behavior. But even Jesus told the religious leaders of His day that prostitutes would see heaven before they would. Yes, sin is serious-and that’s why Jesus came, to deal with the problem of sin. And, good news!-we ALL have sin and proclivities that need to be overcome! So we should rejoice that, even though we will deal with sin until the day we die, God does not reject you BECAUSE you deal with one sin or another, meaning, yes, of course our sin condemns us, but what I mean is, you aren’t condemned solely because you identify as homosexual…or are an alcoholic, fornicator, etc. If we truly love the Lord, we will struggle against our demons. Sometimes we will give in to them. Thank God for Jesus.
However, I do not agree with this Glitter Ash trend at all. When the priest rubs the ashes on your forehead, he says, “From dust you came, from dust you shall return.” The symbolism of ashes goes much deeper than that, though. Let me just give two examples. One, think of Job. In the last chapter of that book, titled “Job Replies to the Lord” in my Bible (CSB), Job says to God, “I had heard rumors about You, but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I take back my words and repent in dust and ashes.”
The second example is of Queen Esther. This is from chapter 4, verse 3. Esther has found out about a plot to kill the Jews: “There was great mourning among the Jewish people in every province where the king’s command and edict came. They fasted, wept, and lamented, and many lay on sackcloth and ashes.”
In each instance, ashes are associated with repentance. With a deep sadness over sin. So when Julie Zauzmer of the Washington Post writes, “People are responding with such joy that they can show their faith and show that they are LGBT,” said the Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen, executive director of Parity. “LGBT people are people of faith, too. … On the day, Ash Wednesday, when Christians are publicly Christian, we are going to be publicly queer,” she, and everyone involved in this latest SJW craze, is, frankly, wrong. They are cheapening, indeed, misunderstanding, what the ashes mean, but also placing the focal point on themselves, or at least a community of people, instead of the One on whom the focus should be. Lent is never about us. Easter is never about us. Nothing that should put the focus on God is EVER about US. WE are not what it’s all about.