Well it’s that time of the year again. Lent, and one interesting gentle man has been chronicling photographs of people during Lent…
Greg Miller is not confused by the smudged foreheads he sees on the streets this time of year. In fact, he waits all year to see them.
The photographer works at a snail’s pace in general. This project, for example, has been 15 years in the making — though it has amounted to more like 15 cumulative days. He waits all year for Ash Wednesday. And even after a whole day’s work, he walks away with only a few frames, because he is lugging around a large-format film camera. This clearly is not about instant gratification…
For Christians, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, and the tradition of putting ash crosses on the forehead is meant to symbolize the beginning of a penitential season, a reminder of mortality.
“The beauty of Ash Wednesday,” Miller explains on his blog, “is that very ordinary people, heading to the train, to work or school, exercise the simple act of wearing their faith for this one day a year. A very old ritual against the backdrop of modern society.”
Lent personally reminds me that Easter is around the corner in 40 days. No, thanks I do not go near any ash!
Is wearing an ash on the forehead fundamentally different from wearing a tee-shirt with Christian slam slogans all over it?
Although I disagree with the implicit Anglo-Catholicism and Roman Catholicism behind the symbol of the cross in ash on the forehead, the Arminians and Pentecostals have simply replaced the tradition with a tradition of their own that reflects a similar emphasis on human merit.