Too many ashes this year. This ancient symbol, reminder of our mortality, our brokenness, our creaturely dependence on the One who made us, might be too much this year. It has been a year of reminders of our mortality and brokenness. We breathed in ashes from our neighborhoods on fire, yet not all were able to breathe at all. We felt our mortality anew as we watched the pandemic’s toll rise across our nation and world. Even our democracy seemed on fire as the election came and went and still so much was broken. As you prepare for Ash Wednesday worship, if you are feeling there are just too many ashes this year, then we invite you to anoint with oil instead, to make the sign of the cross on your or another’s forehead to remind you to whom you belong, who loves you no matter what.