In the middle of a public place, a busy coffee shop, surrounded by strangers… people got real.
We hosted our first ashes to go in the community and while we didn’t have a large turnout, the conversations were deep and holy. I got to know my parishioners better. I heard what brings they joy and where they are struggling. I witnessed the joy and excitement of a family rushing through on their way to school.
People you only have time for quick conversation with in the greeting line after church hung around for a while and visited. It was fascinating to have so much more intimate encounters in a public setting.
In fact, I think the average length of stay at our table was probably 20-30 minutes.
Although, that’s what people do at coffee shops. They talk. They go deep. They open up and become friends.
I’m declaring our first time a qualitative success I wonder about the conversations that will come as a result of our few hours of ashes and prayers.