Wine. Deep, red wine. I reach out with both hands and enfold the cup, bow my head, and sip.
"This is the blood."
A white napkin is wiped quickly across the glass' brim, removing my lip's imprint. And then the cup is passed--to the next and then the next, turning like a clock. We pass the time. Thousands of years of time.
She comes, a mother and a wife. A leader in this place. She stands close, and tears flood in her eyes as she dips her fingers into a bowl of black.
"From ashes you came, and to ashes you shall return."
I lift my bangs with my hand, and she presses a cross upon my forehead. Her fingers are warm and the ashes are rough.
And I want to weep. For the sacred moment, for the profundity of the faith, for the strange symbol of death upon my face. A death that leads to the only hope on earth. A death that leads to life.