Tag Archives: Ash Wednesday

Hope in the ashes

There is hope in cold ashes. We do not “do” Lent, we do not approach the fast as those who have no hope, or as though who fear the fire. For God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and … Continue reading

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Penitence

After William Wordsworth’s “Preface to Lyrical Ballads,” 1800 Recollected in tranquillity, passions burnt beyond their embers. Unguarded breath conjures dust devils, smoke without fire, echoes of disgrace remembered by the ashen light of dawn. Dignified in variegated gray, sifted, judiciously, … Continue reading

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Ashes and coaldust

Of all the symbols that we use in the Christian year, the ashes of Ash Wednesday might be at once the most unambiguous and the most strange. A wise colleague was recently heard to remark on the popularity of “ashes-to-go” … Continue reading

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Ash Wednesday

There is, on occasion, a disconnect between our words and our actions. We smile through gritted teeth as we make polite conversation with someone we do not like. We have profound and prolonged conversations about liberty and justice as we … Continue reading

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Burning

I’m sitting up tending a pot of palms as they slowly disintegrate into ash. Under the surface red and orange molten lava moves, shifting and sifting through the burnt and unburnt bits and branches, preparing their repentance for their part … Continue reading

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Juxtapositions

Last Wednesday, I told a score of people or more that they were going to die. “You are dust,” I reminded them, “and to dust you will return.” And I marked their faces with ash. In the line was my youngest … Continue reading

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Fasting = Feasting on Life

Last night, as we finished serving the people, I looked into the chalice and made a quick decision: contrary to our usual practice, the remaining consecrated wine would be sent to the sacristy to be consumed or reverently disposed of … Continue reading

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