First off… #ashtag.
Second, is this really happening in 2020? Has Confessional Lutheranism lost its mind?
So, um, don’t participate in the practice of the Imposition of Ashes. No one’s coming after you if you choose not to do it. In the meantime, lay off of ripping into the people who do. You’re not being Lutheran. You’re trying to be an edgy intellectual in a clerical collar, and you’re only helping to further bury reverence in American Christianity as well as fan the flames of disdain for rites and ceremonies that point directly to Christ. At a minimum, by wiping the ashes from the foreheads of the countless Christians making their way to their jobs, schools, or wherever, you foolishly obscure a silent proclamation of the Gospel through the Church to the world. You strip her centrifugal nature of its clothing. You strip her of her stained glass. You remove her banners and paraments. You hide her church signs. It’s to keep the world from noticing in a visual way that Christ is still alive and at work in His world through people—that the salt is still salty, that the light is still burning, that we know our sins and we know the One who redeemed us by the cross…
…that there still exists a remnant of people who won’t roll over when the storms come, even if a few of the lightning bolts come from our own. How can I say this? Because we’re not fearful of donning an ashen cross on our foreheads in public. It’s not a flaunting of one’s spirituality. It’s a reminder to the self and a silent proclamation of the Gospel to others.
I suppose since we’re talking about it, maybe you should take off the clerical collar you’re wearing and put on a nice shirt and tie. You certainly wouldn’t want anyone to think you’re flaunting your spirituality before the world.