I have never observed Ash Wednesday and I have never really observed Lent before. But I went to the Lutheran church for Ash Wednesday this year. The most moving thing was after having gone forward to be marked with ashes, walking back to my seat, seeing rows of people with crosses marked on their foreheads. People who, moments before, were successful, well-dressed business people or what have you, now humbly marked with the sign of the cross. Not a gold necklace with a 14 karat cross charm dangling now, but a cross-shaped smear of ashes across the forehead. Now identified, not by trappings of their success–a tidy outfit, a fresh haircut–and their masks of self-sufficiency, but identified with Christ in a primitive and ancient way. I walked back, that same cross-shaped smudge of ashes across my forehead. It was a moment of sharing that we belong to Christ–not in the easy, enjoyable sense of all being God’s children, but in a more solemn sense.