Wednesday, February 10, 2016
schmutz or shmutz.
PRONUNCIATION: (shmuhts, shmoots)
MEANING: noun: Dirt, filth, or any undesirable substance.
In my Ash Wednesday reflection this evening I will use the excellent Yiddish word "schmutz" to refer to the icky stuff of the sign of the cross marked on each forehead, as well as the "undesirable substances" of our lives which we address as Lent begins.
Most of us recognize along the way that our lives can get messy, dirty, and downright sinful. Are we bad people? That's really not the point. Rather than defining who is or isn't a bad person we concede that we say and do things that are thoughtless, unkind, cruel, even vicious. We don't dwell on them, but we "come clean," naming the schmutz, and then moving on.
It always seems like a lot of work getting ready for a service that just isn't a big draw, to be honest. But I need this opportunity, and I think we do as a community of faith.