Ashes to Go: Pastors mark travelers with ashen cross on their way home

Cameron Keyser, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Stephens City, stands in the church parking lot at the corner of Fairfax and Main streets Wednesday evening offering Ashes to Go as an observation to Ash Wednesday. Rich Cooley/Daily

STEPHENS CITY – The Trinity Lutheran Church, in cooperation with Sherando Presbyterian Church, held Ashes To Go on Ash Wednesday, marking residents with ash on their drives home.

Pastors Rose Wayland, of Sherando Presbyterian Church, and Cameron Keyser, of Trinity Lutheran Church, offered the ashes ritual from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., introducing those traveling down Fairfax Street to the Christian observance of Ash Wednesday.

Motorists could pull into the Trinity Lutheran Church’s parking lot to receive an ashen cross on their foreheads and continue their drive within 30 seconds. Those who took part received a printed explanation of the rite and were invited to Lenten and Easter worships.

Keyser said dozens of residents received the imposition of ashes and the pastors received waves and smiles from other passers-by. He added that this was the first year the two churches have conducted a mobile version of Ash Wednesday.

The imposition of ashes has been a part of Christian tradition since at least the 11th century and marks the start of the season of Lent.

Rose Wayland, interim pastor at Sherando Prespbyterian Church, imposes an ashen cross on John Carlo, 25, of Stephens City, at the church parking lot of Trinity Lutheran Church on Wednesday evening. Rich Cooley/Daily

Keyser recounted the words God spoke to Adam: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

The symbol of the cross on the forehead represents cleansing and renewal, with the ashes made from palms used in last year’s Palm Sunday worship.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com