Two Fircrest churches set up a drive-by blessing station to serve all comers on Ash Wednesday.
The Revs. Julie Johnson of Fircrest Presbyterian Church and Greg Kaurin of Redeemer Lutheran Church arranged a desk and two stools on the corner of Alameda Avenue and Princeton Street.
Inside the desk’s drawers were two bowls of wet ashes, protected from more dilution from the occasional rain drops.
“It’s for visibility, so people can see us,” Kaurin said of the outdoor blessing station. “And just to make it more accessible to the community beyond our congregations.”
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“God is in all places,” Johnson said.
Dave Harshman, 69, was the first to get the blessing. Like the other participants, he parked and walked to the corner.
“David, remember that you are dust,” Kaurin said as he drew the symbol of the cross on Harshman’s forehead. “And to dust shall you return.”
“Ash Wednesday is the start of Easter for me, so it’s really important that I come here today,” said Harshman, who was taking a break from watching the state high school basketball tournament at the Tacoma Dome.
He has taken the Ash Wednesday blessing his entire life.
“It’s part of who you are,” he said.
The ashes the two pastors were using were the remains of burned palm crosses from last year’s Palm Sunday. They symbolize mortality.
“Mortality helps us to pay attention to what’s going on now, that sense that we have time to do something,” Kaurin said.
“It reminds us that we are dependent on God for every breath,” Johnson said.
Mary Zapata of Fircrest brought her 2-year-old twin grandchildren to the event.
It was the first Ash Wednesday blessing for Rezmen and Reyn Daley, who gave each other curious looks after Johnson marked their foreheads.
“It means the resurrection of our lord,” Zapata said of the blessing. It’s also the start of Lent.
“We are asked to give up one thing that we like to do,” Zapata said.
Her subject of abstinence?
“I haven’t decided yet,” she said.
And the kids?
“I don’t think they’ll give up anything,” Zapata said.