this. And this.
Check out the reasons why people are liking drive-through ashes, or ashes given out on the street. No time commitment, no need to be embarrassed about going into a church... Oh my. Although I personally abhor the Catholic practice of distribution of ashes without Mass, which is only slightly better. At least with that, however, people darken the door of a church.
God IS certainly available on the go - but once a year, wouldn't it be nice to make one's self available to God? Wouldn't it be helpful to hear the Word of God, challenging us to spend 40 days reflecting on inner change? Better yet, to hear that AND receive the Eucharist, which is the nourishment which will strengthen us to keep our 40-day commitment to change. Only then are we fully ready to claim in the ashes our sinfulness and our identity as belonging to Christ, marked with his Cross.
Ashes are NOT simply a blessing, as these Protestant churches imply. Rather, they are a visible sign of our commitment . Might be nice to have some (commitment, that is). Just sayin' - this is what happens when a symbol gets a divorce from its accompanying ritual. It loses much of its original meaning and becomes something vaguely about "encountering Christ", devoid of its original connection to a concept of repentance. Postmodern reinvention, I guess. Sigh.