Issues

For twelve years
plus three, O LORD,
my heart has been bleeding
and for the same season
I did not believe
it could heal.

For twelve years
plus three, O LORD,
my heart has been breaking
and for the same season
no one would touch it
lest they break too.

For twelve years
plus three, O LORD,
my heart has been suffering
and for the same reason
you spoke to it:
“Have faith.”

Too many years,
bleeding and broken.
I have issues, O LORD.
Mend my rent heart
by your grace
to peace.

on Mark 5:24-35 and Joel 2:13, with a nod to Julia Michaels’ Issues

Ash Wednesday (Lent 1)

Roar, life.
Burn, sun.
Scold, winter.

Let these ashes be at peace.

Rage, winds.
Spin, time.
Haunt, death.

These ashes of mine are unbowed.

But let the LORD thunder; let
the Eternal One even whisper
or simply draw near in silence

And my ashes tremble in awe;
they faint and fall apart in humility.
Here is your God, o ashes. There is no other.

.

Ash Wednesday (Lent 1)

begin

at the beginning

because it is the only option

at the beginning

when there was Chaos

at the beginning

when there was Imagination

at the beginning

with all the dust

swirling … commingling … colliding
… clumping … separating …
every fleck the possibility
of a star or
a baobab or a raindrop
or a trout
or
an image of God

at the beginning

just the dust of possibility

so at this beginning

with hope, we begin

Monday Muse: Ash Wednesday Liturgies on the RCL

CALL TO WORSHIP (Joel 2:1-2, 12-17)
One: Drop everything at the call of the trumpet!
Two: Flee from your security at the cry of the protester!
One: Leave your “to do” list, put down your calendar.
Two: Come right now and seek a new path.
One: It’s time for a pilgrimage back to the heart of God.
Two: It’s time to walk the path of repentance.
One: Bring your whole heart; hold nothing back.
Two: Gather all people; let the reconciliation begin together.
All: Perhaps along this Lenten way, God will leave a blessing. O God we pray: leave a blessing.

RESPONSIVE REFLECTION (Isaiah 58:1-12 with Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21)
One: We worship you, Most Holy God. You are the Eternal and Merciful One; we are the contrite and weary dust.
All: You are the Spinner of Stars and the Mysterious Truth; we are the particles of galaxies and the worshipers of certainty.
One: Have mercy, O God, in your steadfast love.
All: Have mercy, O God, in your steadfast love.
     [a time of silence is observed]
One: Into the silence, we want to shout, “Hear us, LORD! Save us! Love us!”
All: Under the silent stare of God’s eye, we want to plead, “Look at our goodness. Look at our worship and our youth group and our food pantry.”
One: See, we can be humble, God. We can be faithful.
All: We can be humble. We can be faithful.
     [a time of silence is observed]
One: Ah, God. We long to hear you and to be heard by you.
All: We long to see you and to be seen by you.
One: Perhaps you have not only heard our prayers but also our conversations, our thoughts, our slander, our gossip, our votes, and our silence.
All: Perhaps you have not only seen our worship but also our hoarding of bread, our storage of treasures, our collection of admiration, our neglect of the imprisoned, and our averted eyes.
     [a time of silence is observed]
One: Our ashes are such fragile ashes; our dust is such grimy dust.
All: But let also our light be fully light; let our ruins become welcoming homes.
One: Let this dust be bold in response to your mercy.
All: Let your glory be our treasure through all the dust and stars. Amen.

ANOINTING (2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10)
Be reconciled to God:
ashes to ashes, life to life,
like sorrow reconciling to joy,
like sleepless nights resolving to peaceful days,
like nothing remembering at last what is everything.