Boxes, Ashes To Go and The Ash Wednesday Diet

God is not inside your box. God is not inside your box. God is not inside your box. God is not inside your box. Now this way, God is not inside my box. God is not inside my box. God is not inside my box. God is not inside my box, or your box, or your favorite religion’s box, or your parent’s box, or your educated mind’s box, etc. You get the point.

I was brushing up on my Ash Wednesday facts when I happened upon a news story about a lovely church in Maryland, among many across the country, who will offer what’s being called, “Ash in a Flash” or “Drive-Thru Ashes” or “Ashes To Go.” You can search Google yourself to read about the many who take advantage of this offering, and also learn that Ash Wednesday services are the most highly attended services all year, surpassing Christmas and Easter.

While searching, I also found a beautiful blog by Dr. Manny Alvarez. He serves as FOX News Channel’s Senior Managing Editor for Health News. I won’t paste the whole blog here, but I will share his Ash Wednesday Diet tips, “Emotional” Diet Tips that is:

1. Focus on loving God and all his greatness, instead of celebrities, action figures, “real” housewives or even world leaders that think they know best.

2. Be careful of wolves in sheep’s clothing, like politicians, promising you something but taking your liberties away.

3. Set up standards of morality at home. Enough with the casual cursing. Teach kids some etiquette and manners, and use yourself as an example.

4. Spend time with your family, telling stories, and listening to those around you. Because someday you will wish you had.

5. Think of older folks – remember, that will be you some day. And loneliness can be debilitating.

6. Remember that violence begets violence. Young people are overwhelmed with graphic simulations of violence in video games and on the Internet. Cut it out of your life.

7. Be with the person you want, and respect your commitment.

8. In these times of economic hardship, make sure you do not take shortcuts. Honor is man’s greatest virtue. Think of how this country started – business deals were honored with a simple handshake, symbolizing good intentions.

9. Remember that lawsuits are not the only solution to our problems – though sometimes it may seem that way, with children suing parents, parents suing schools and even the government suing its own people.

10. Finally, stop thinking about how other people see you – but rather, think about how you see yourself. Love yourself for who you are – not for what a commercial or a magazine cover tells you you should be.

I’ll add an 11th tip: Allow yourself to receive the unconditional love of God, and let it destroy the box you’ve created for your God.  I’ll see you at the Drive-Thru.