Today stumbled across a great article about a photographer, Greg Miller, who loves taking pictures on Ash Wednesday. And although I love his photos and most of what he said, one thing that he said really struck me. He said that one of the reasons that he appreciates Ash Wednesday is because people "exercise the simple act of wearing their faith for this one day a year."
Don't get me wrong--I, too, think it's cool to see people with ashes on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday. I actually love seeing people at the gym, in the grocery store, or in the elevator on their way to the office with ashes in the sign of the cross on their foreheads. I find it inspiring and comforting and awesome.
But the quote above really struck me and made me realize that we may be doing something really, really wrong as Christians if it's true that to outsiders (and to each other) people do not identify us as such the other 364 days of the year. We should not have to wear our faith in a physical way in order for people to recognize us as followers of Jesus.
Jesus calls us to "wear our faith" every day. Maybe not in the form of ashes on our forehead, but in how we live our lives. It should not take a Wednesday in February for people to know if we are Christians. We should be living, and treating others, in a manner that shows this every day of the year. We are called to be a light--a city on a hill--the salt of the earth--Christ's hands and feet. This has nothing to do with wearing outward signs of faith, but everything to do with living our lives in light of what we believe.
The title of the article that started this all is "Excuse Me, You Have Something On Your Forehead." I heard that more than once today. I wish that I could say that once during the rest of the year someone stopped me and said, "Excuse me, you are acting a lot like Jesus."
So last night, when I washed the ashes off of my own forehead, I couldn't help but resolve to do something tomorrow, and then every day after that which would show my belief and my faith in Christ to others....to live my life as though I were wearing invisible ashes.