Church offers 'ashes to go' option for busy worshippers

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Christians around the world headed to church on this Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. And as part of tradition, pastors placed the sign of the cross in ashes on the foreheads of the faithful.

But what should Christians do if they just don't have time to attend a service? In Clear Lake, there's an option for ashes to go.

The pastor for House of Prayer Lutheran Church first tried this idea last year. It was so popular, they decided to bring back 'ashes to go.'

With today's hectic lifestyle, many Americans have little time to stop and breathe, much less pray.

"For people who are busy through the day kind of like I am right now, I think it's a great concept and idea," said Luis, one of the worshippers who stopped by.

"I definitely wanted the blessings, but I work and it's very difficult to attend a service," said Clear Lake resident Laureen Falco. "So I read about this in the community newspaper and thought, 'This is perfect!'"

They're finding convenience in ashes to go.

Pastor Pete Warmanen explained, "Last year was the first time that we did it. And I thought that it was the silliest idea."

Pastor Pete is offering road-side blessings on Ash Wednesday. He offers an abbreviated version of his service, a pamphlet with confession and scripture, then the cross of ashes, and off you go.

"I think it's wonderful! Christ coming to the streets and coming out of the church," said Jacque Darragh, one of the worshippers.

Many acknowledge, it's not the same -- sitting in a car, instead of in a service. But they're doing what they can.

Oswaldo Lopez, who received his blessing, said, "I just went out for lunch and work around the corner and I decided to stop by. This is a great way to keep our faith going."

And the message doesn't change. To Pastor Pete, it's better to have shown up for a minute than not at all.

"Once we have these relationships, which are only like a minute or two long, it goes as deep as we want it to go and as deep as they want it to go," he said. null
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