Blessing the Dust

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
“Blessing the Dust” appears in Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons.

The promise of returning light…

On the eve of Ash Wednesday may we give thanks for the promise of light. We live in a world that seems to be thriving in darkness. May this season of Lent allow us to focus in this dark and find the cracks where light is trying to push its way through. Where it is struggling to enter let us bring the promise that light will return. 

The light will return. It will come again when the darkness has grown old and self-confident, arrogant in its assumption of power, when the clash of armies seems unending and the voices of hope have become but a whisper. Then the light will appear, in the deepest place of fear, least expected, a glimmer in the hand of the poor, a flicker among those who refuse to forget how to love. And the light will become brighter, with each one of us who turn to see it, warming us where our pain is greatest, releasing us to see one another more clearly, a light to follow, to cherish, to protect. Look up now.
The season of shadows is over. The light will return.

(The Very Rev Steven  Charleston)

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