#AshWednesday Reflections @annawoof

“Maybe it is no mistake that Christians press ash, and dust, and dirt, into our foreheads as we enter into Lent. We long for this symbol of death, and mortality, endings and crumblings… because we know that within it, there is something so deep and comforting. As we acknowledge that the endings are the stuff of which the new beginnings are made, we see that our dust is what makes soil for growth. The God that created us is the same God that is blowing into our dust, like that God did of primordial Adam, creating us anew. That God is the same God that is holding the breadth of the cycles and assuring us that even what is crumbling is being cared for, and that love is being infused at every stage. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, dirt to dirt, remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.

From @annawoof

Seeing those ashes on each other’s foreheads reminds us how we’re all in it together, in this messy, dirty, beautiful, interconnected web of life. And it’s as if in that moment, the dust dissolves that which separates us, as if the ash burns through the illusion that we are anything but fellow humanity, and part of creation. In that moment, we’re all in it together, mortal and human; creation, created, creator; lover and beloved; dust, dirt, heart, and spirit; all mixed together on this sacred evening.”
–Rev. Anna Woofenden

Blessing the Dust
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: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

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