“Rock It” by Rev. Jane Siebert Rocks relate to natural truths. Rocks have a lot to tell us about ourselves and about others. Some have holes in them where they lost a part of themselves when life hit hard but they are still beautiful. Some have had all their rough edges worn off from tumbling over and over in the stream of providence and are smooth and gentle from the ride. Some have cracks where they butted up against another rock and were hurt in the process, but they are still strong. Some have hidden beauty inside and we have to help them to crack open and see it. Some are pretty on one side and not so much on the other. We need to be a little careful of people, I mean rocks like this. Some are big and showy and they draw our attention and some need to be closely examined to find their gift. Some have to be washed off because the dirt of life hides their inner treasure. Some are tiny and easily overlooked. Pay attention. You might miss the jewel. Not one is just a rock if we take time and look closely. Every rock has a story.
“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.
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
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
It seems wherever I go
People come into my life or go out of it
Touching me where I feel
Then leaving me only a memory
Like the Gossamer fairy tales of children –
And I wasn’t through knowing them.
How do I know
Who I am seeing for the last time?
How do you halt your life to gather and keep all
Those around you that you’ve ever known?
And how do you keep fairy tales from losing their magic?
Brush against the walls of my life
And stay long enough for us to know each other
Even though we’ll have to part sometime
And we both know
The longer you stay
The more I’ll want you when you are gone.
But come anyway
For fairy tales are the happiest stories we read
And great books are made of little chapters.