Back last year, the artist Rag & Bone Man released the song Human. I wonder if you know it?

Rev Paul Chamberlain with an Ash Wednesday cross
Rev Paul Chamberlain with an Ash Wednesday cross
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Back last year, the artist Rag & Bone Man released the song Human. I wonder if you know it?

It goes something like this: ‘Maybe I’m foolish, maybe I’m blind, thinking I can see through this, and see what’;s behind.

‘But I’m only human after all, I’m only human after all, don’t put your blame on me.’

I was thinking about this song as we came this week to Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. Shrove Tuesday is, of course, Pancake Day.

That day I took a school assembly, and almost all the children were going to have pancakes.

I guess many other people did, too. But I suspect far fewer people followed that by marking Ash Wednesday as well.

It follows Shrove Tuesday, and is the start of Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter. On Ash Wednesday many Christians, including me, attended a special service, during which the sign of the cross was made on each person’s forehead, and each person was told the following:

‘Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

‘Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ.’

This might sound like a fairly morbid thing to say, but for Christians it’s a reminder of our place in the world.

In the words of Rag & Bone Man: ‘I’m only human after all.’

Ash Wednesday reminds us not to think too much of ourselves, and that the world does not revolve around you and me.

The song Human goes on to say: ‘I’m no prophet or Messiah, should go looking somewhere higher, I’m only human after all, don’t put the blame on me.’

that’s exactly what Ash Wednesday reminds us to do – to look somewhere higher for help and meaning and purpose. That’s why Christians are reminded on Ash Wednesday to be faithful to and to follow Jesus Christ. He is the higher one; Christians believe he’s both a prophet and the Messiah.

So Ash Wednesday reminded me again, with the help of Rag & Bone Man, that I’m only human after all. And you are too. But that’s ok, because there is someone higher who can help us – Jesus Christ.

o For more information about St Faith’s Church, come along and visit us in Victoria Square in Lee-On-The-Solent.

We have four services on Sundays – the Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion; Parish Eucharist; Sundays@11; and Evening Prayer.

Alternatively, you can take a look at our website stfaithslee.org.uk.