Fuller community finds space for Lenten meditation and reflection
Faculty, staff, and students filled Fuller’s Travis Auditorium on February 22, for a special All-Seminary Chapel observing Ash Wednesday. Student chapel interns led the group through a worship cycle of gathering, listening, and responding that included a call to confession, prayers, readings, songs, and a reflection offered by Todd E. Johnson
, the William K. and Delores S. Brehm Associate Professor of Worship, Theology, and the Arts.
“Ash. Dirty stuff. Burnt stuff. Dead stuff,” began Johnson, remarking, “Almost every human culture has used ash as a symbol of remorse, of defeat, of illness, of mortality, of sorrow, of death.” He pointed out that ash is “serious stuff,” despite efforts to domesticate it, as in the nursery rhyme in which children sing, “ashes to ashes, we all fall down.”
The word human comes from “humus,” meaning earth or soil, observed Johnson. We are ash, dirt, earth—and yet, according to 1 John 3:1, we are called children of God. It is only when we who were formed from earth are filled with the life-breath of God that we become human, he said.
“So this day we remember that we are nothing but mortal stuff,” stated Johnson. “But we can be transformed into eternal children of God.”
The service concluded with the imposition of ashes.