Ash Wednesday

Good morning all!  Can you believe it is Ash Wednesday already? If you have a reflection back, I would love to hear from you!!!!  Or if you would like to be added to the daily email list instead of coming here, let me know.   Oh and one more thing….I will be in Colorado next week (from Saturday until Saturday). I am taking some much needed vacation! woohoo!  But this means that I am trying to get a few guest bloggers to I actually take some vacation.  If you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know. I still have a few days open. Ok…now to scripture….

Today’s scripture:  Matthew 6:1-6

 ‘Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.  ‘So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.  ‘And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.  ‘And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Today is the day that we begin our Lenten journey.  We mark our foreheads with ash to remember our mortality.  We are dust and to dust we will return. We are humans.  We are mortal.  We will die at some point.
It is not the most uplifting of holidays.  In fact, some people don’t go to service today because it seems rather depressing.  But I am one of those church nerds that really enjoys the moment of being reminded that we belong to the earth.  We are human and someday this flesh will go away. There is something peaceful about this recognition and always sends me into a season of reflection and dealing with things most of the time we don’t. I find this actually pretty refreshing.  We don’t have to announce any great thing that we have done but gracefully and quietly we acknowledge our humanness.  As Matthew puts it up above, we don’t sound a trumpet before ourselves or brag about our own piety.  We just come to the altar.
This also starts our journey into 40 days of wilderness with Jesus. Lent is 40 days minus the Sundays (mini Easters) to give up or take on.  This is a time of wandering, of questioning, of being tempted and turning back towards God (or repentance in nerdy church language). Many in our midst have taken this opportunity to give something up…chocolate, desserts, pop (some say soda), or any number of things.  But if we give something up for the sake of giving  up, we miss the point. This season is not just about giving up vices but about spending more time with God.  So I know some people who have decided to take different things on.  There are a number of facebook ideas…some take on taking a picture each day. has a chart of ideas.  I saw a posting yesterday about writing a letter to someone each day. All good suggestions.  A colleague friend of mine is taking on yoga each day.  Something that makes her healthier and closer to God in life.   This is actually how this blog began, for me to spend extra time with scripture each day of Lent.  What will I do this year? Well, I have a day to figure it out and I hope you will join me on the journey.
To leave you today in your reflections I am adding a blessing written for just this day by an amazing poet and blogger, Jan Richardson.  Here it is….

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.




One Comment Add yours

  1. Christy Dirren says:

    Check out the event 40 Days of Prayerawareness Facebook Event open to all.

    Participants pray for a designated group of people each day. For this giving up FB for Lent can receive a text message.

    Day #1 – teachers & school staff

    Join us, pass along to others.


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