Since the Middle Ages, Christians around the world have celebrated the beginning of Lent by marking their foreheads with an ash cross.
A more-modern twist is Ashes to Go, a program started by several Chicago churches on Ash Wednesday 2010. The program was designed as a way of sharing the holiday with Christians too busy to break away from the work week. By 2012, the idea had gone viral and expanded to 80 churches in 21 states.Danyelle Ditmer of the Wall Street United Methodist Church set up an Ashes to Go site at the corner of Spring and Chestnut streets in Jeffersonville, Indiana on Wednesday. With a canister of ashes in hand, Ditmer helped pedestrians in need of a midday prayer and eager to participate in the ancient tradition.
When asked what motivated her to take the holiday to the streets, Ditmer explained, "I wanted them to know that the love of God is not constrained to a building, but can meet you right here in your daily life, even in the busyness. So we are here on a street corner to celebrate this holy day and offer forgiveness, grace and the love of Jesus Christ to everyone who stops by."