Ash Wednesday: Dr. Duane W.H. Arnold PhD

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20 Responses

  1. pstrmike says:

    Thanks Duane. Much to reflect upon here. Like you, I think about death more often than in the past. This is my first time observing Lent, and I spent some time reflecting on the ashes this morning, The fire is also a symbol of purgation with the ashes from that process used to mark us as forgiven.

    Teach us O Lord, to number our days…

  2. Jean says:

    Fantastic article. Thanks.

  3. Michael says:

    I have had to be more aware of my own mortality over the last year…and it has caused me to reevaluate what is truly important and what I want to devote my time to.

    The Lenten season is going to be the end of that process and the beginning of another.

    A fantastic article,indeed.

    Thanks also to pstrmike…well said.

  4. em ... again says:

    Dr. Arnold, these are words of life to a dying, denying world… amen

  5. Kevin H says:

    Thank you Duane for this. Very good.

  6. Duane Arnold says:

    Thank you all… I wanted to say, but didn’t, that moving toward eternity, while slightly scary, is the next big adventure. From the film (not the book):

    PIPPIN: I didn’t think it would end this way.

    GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

    PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?

    GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

    PIPPIN: Well, that isn’t so bad.

    GANDALF: No. No, it isn’t.”

  7. Xenia says:

    Wonderful article, Dr. Duane. Thank you.

    Our Lenten season began on Monday. We don’t have Ash Wednesday in Ortholandia but it is a great tradition. Last Sunday we had Forgiveness Vespers where we prostrate ourselves before each person and say “Dear brother/ sister, forgive me, a sinner.” The response is: “As God forgives, I forgive.” All the altar cloths and clergy vestments are changed from gold to black at this service. No more flowers til Pascha (Easter.) So that’s how we enter Lent, being reminded exactly why it is the we need a Savior.

    Each night of the first week (Mon-Thurs.) we have the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, a long penitential piece where St. Andrew rehearses the whole Bible, talking to his soul, telling it things like “Cain was a murderer but you am worse” and “Abraham had faith but you, O my soul, do not.” As I said, penitential. Church is dark. If one is of a mind, it’s a good time for tears.

  8. Michael says:


    Thank you for sharing from your tradition…it adds to the richness of all of our understanding.

  9. Xenia says:

    You am worse….. good grief.

    -Typo Queen

  10. Josh the Baptist says:

    Fantastic article, Duane.

    My gang doesn’t do Ash Wednesday, Lent, or any of that. (I mean, we acknowledge them, but have no special practice for them). I appreciate this article for showing how this ritual is meaningful to you.

  11. Duane Arnold says:

    #10 Josh

    Many thanks. Do you mind if I ask which seminary you are at?

  12. Josh the Baptist says:

    Luther Rice

  13. Duane Arnold says:


    Ah, I envy you having the High Museum!

  14. Josh the Baptist says:

    I picked LR because my SBC conservative heroes went there in 80’s when the denominational seminaries had gone liberal 🙂 (Silly, but true)

    I also should say, I am sure there are some SBC pastors who observe Lent with there churches, but they would be a small minority.

  15. Josh the Baptist says:

    @13 – I do go to campus some, but all my classes this semester are online. I live in NC, about 3 hours from Atlanta. Atlanta traffic is a whole different kind of evil. I haven’t been to the High Museum. Mostly just Civil War stuff and the Aquarium.

  16. Siggy the Terrible says:


    Your heart is now in my prayers.


    I dig your writing. Thx for this.

  17. filbertz says:

    I’ve officiated two funerals and attended three others since my son died last May. Death, not as a topic, but an appointment, is more on my mind than ever. My mortality is no longer in the back of my mind, but in my peripheral vision. I’m mulling it over more than ever, trying to consider what I really think about it. As I have buried loved ones, my thoughts go more frequently to that ‘reunion day,’ and sadly, my heart is more drawn to those who have died than to the Giver of Life, the Lover of my soul, Jesus himself who makes it all possible. May He raise my vision from the temporal (and those I knew from it) to the eternal, when what we hold by faith becomes sight.

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    “My mortality is no longer in the back of my mind, but in my peripheral vision.”

    Well said. You will certainly be in my prayers…

  19. Michael says:


    Beautiful, my friend…

  20. filbertz says:

    I’m disappointed this fine article didn’t gain more traction.

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