“Marked By The Burning”

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At the beginning of this season of Lent we are reminded by Matthew’s Jesus that “unless [we] change and become like little children, [we] will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Mt 18:2

With little children what you see is what you get. They are open, trusting and straightforward. If there is a proverbial elephant in the room they will point it out and “call it by its true name.” (Thich Nhat Hanh). If we are called to emulate this quality then surely, now is an apt time to do it. We must get to the truth of our identity, know ourselves as flawed, but renewed and reclaimed in our flaws. We are changed.

Gandhi said that we should “be the change we want to see in the world.” By changing attitudes and behaviors that kill spirit to ones that give life to it, we become antidotes for the evil dominating our world. This Lent the enduring question for me will be, “What gives me life?”

Breathing in life
I celebrate life.

Breathing out negativity
I release its hold on me.

Breathing in life
I send it I to the world.

Breathing out negativity
I release its hold on the world.

May it be so. Amen.

Now this from Jan Richardson

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
http://paintedprayerbook.com/2016/02/08/ash-wednesday-a-blessing-in-the-ashes/