Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Dust to Dust

On this the first day of Lent 2017, I am reminded through the beauty of the liturgical calendar of the importance of the seasons of life and more specifically the comfort in meaningful Christian ritual. In a world full of turmoil, disdain for the "other", and little patience for viewpoints out with our own, the concept of Lent, a season of reflection, repentance, renewal and preparation, somehow makes me feel very centered.

To know that we all began the same and will have the same end, keeps central the idea that we are actually not that different. Lent reminds me to step back and focus on what it means to value the sanctity of life, the love of God and the humanity of others. How can I sacrifice of myself to demonstrate this sense of self-renewal and connection with faith that the Lenten season carries with it?

This year, I've challenged myself to do something that seems quite foreign to me at this stage in life: to pray. To talk to God, to find meaning in that conversation again, to lift up creation, to offer love for others. Since mom and Michael's deaths, I have struggled with prayer- the point, the purpose, the how, the when- it all seems so strange. So, here I go. Forty days of opening myself up to the possibility of a dialogue of love and connection and of being changed.

May the God of grace and joy abide with us all through these forty days.
May we learn to release and let go.
May we walk in peace.

Blessing the Dust
A Blessing for Ash Wednesday

All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners
or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial-
did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?
This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.
This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.
This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within
the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil of
this sacred earth.
So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are
but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made
and the stars that blaze
in our bones
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.

-Jan Richardson from Circle of Grace

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