There are more creative altar designs in the world, but here is what I pulled together for tonight. I like to use rough fabric for Ash Wednesday — burlap, sack cloth, etc. I tend to avoid the “pretty” altar elements that are normally used, such as the brass cross and candlesticks. Kay gave me this cross as a present a few years back and I use it often. As for the pictures, I was trying to interpret death, dryness, wilderness, so I used pictures that did that without being too over the top. If I were in a different place, I might use a picture I have of a toe tag on a corpse, but that felt too intense for a service that will involve kids as well as adults. I also used last year’s dried up palm branches to provide some texture and to to remind folks of where the ashes came from. The ashes are actually on a pedestal down on the floor, where I can reach them and easily distribute them.
It ain’t art, but not too bad for an old, non-creative white male.