(Posted February 11, 2016)
It occurred to me today, as I was washing Ash Wednesday’s sooty darkness from my fingers, that there is an odd kinship in the ash and the diamond.
This week we observed during Ash Wednesday the prayers and thoughts that remind us how impermanent we all are in the scheme of the universe. The ashes we wore on our foreheads were made from the remains of last Palm Sunday’s ashes, reduced to their simplest carbon form by flame. In times past, ashes were the symbol, too of mourning, combined with sack cloth.
And yet, this Sunday after our main service, those of us who choose to do so will renew our marriage vows, recommitting on this Valentine’s Day how love continues on. There is no more enduring symbol of married life than the diamond. Like a Palm Sunday frond that formed the carbon beds of ancient times from which gemstones grow, the diamond in its simplest form is no more than carbon, compressed under great pressure until time and endurance change its dark substance to sparkling light. Carbon is the substance of which the Universe is built. It is the stuff of stars and of human bodies. What endures, however, beyond the perishable form we share with others is love. Like the diamond that may glisten in a wedding ring, Love does not die but is forged, perfected, through the “for better or for worse” of marriage. Love continues on past death, as immune to destruction as a diamond. We honor those spouses we have physically lost to death this Sunday in a candle lighting ceremony that begins our 10 a.m. service.
I invite you, all of you who choose to turn Valentine’s Day into more than a Hallmark Holiday, to linger for a few minutes this Sunday as we renew our marriage vows. I am told there will be special sweet treats for us all during Coffee Hour. - Pastor Pat Kriss