Ash Wednesday

“…for you are dust and to dust you shall return.”   Genesis 3:19

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Today we are reminded of the handful of earth that we were each borne from.  Breath blown from the lips of the Creator gave life.

Gives life.

But the dirt became dirty because of a serpent’s whisper and an apple eaten.  Choices given and choices made still toss mud and muck our way.  When the dirt piles on, we too easily forget how messy we really are.

Therein lies the beauty of a Lenten journey.  A time of holy cleansing of the all that clings long and hardens along the way.

I have fought this season in the past.  Lost in the man-made rules of “have-to’s” was my “heart to.”  I struggled with the tradition that found itself bound in rules.  I struggled with the sharing.  I struggled with the failing.  I wrestled myself out of it entirely and yet, longed for it, too.

This year I am choosing to enter in a different way.  Join me, if you like.

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Today, I begin, like David,

Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit
from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
15 Unseal my lips, O Lord,
that my mouth may praise you.

16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
18 Look with favor on Zion and help her;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—
with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings.
Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.

Psalm 51 NLT

 

 

I will post throughout this 40 Day Journey some thoughts and reflections.  Come back and join in.

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Twilight Examen

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Twilight is falling like a gentle rain. I am not ready for this day’s impending demise because there is much left within me wanting – yet it comes, ready or not.

So, rather than fight the inevitable, I pause to collect my thoughts.

What has this day brought to me?

What have I given back to it?

Have those I met been better for our encounter?

What is this day’s greatest blessing?

What is undone…can it remain so for now and maybe forever?

What one thing did I accomplish that brings joy to my heart?

Is there someone I need to make peace with?

Simple questions can lead to profound answers.

Within this sacred pause, I am both graced and confronted. Yet, in order to live my life mindfully they must be asked.  For too long, I have toddled along my life’s path moment to moment missing the holy in the midst of the mundane.

Too often I ventured from the good way because the wrong way looked so right. Those missteps have carried a heavy price.

In these twilight opportunities, we are given opportunity to draw down the shade of this day and wrap ourselves in the great silence of night. Waste not this chance.

Soon, very soon, the grace of another dawn will rise.

O’ Lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then, Lord, in your mercy grant us safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last; through Jesus Christ our Lord. John Henry Newman

repost from my previous blog “A Sacred Longing”

 

 

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