Blessing the Dust!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ashes

What goes through your mind when you receive the ash cross on your forehead on Ash Wednesday?  Write about the significance of ash and of contemplating the dust you shall return to.  Is this joyful, terrifying, comforting?  How does this ritual prepare your for the Lenten season?

I found this poem from a friend of a friend on Facebook. It says what I always felt and wanted to say about Ash Wednesday.  It makes the ashes glow with life and hope for me.

Blessing the Dust
A Blessing for Ash Wednesday
by Jan Richardson

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.

Image

Image: Blessing the Dust © Jan L. Richardson

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