Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

Tonight, Reservoir Church celebrates our first ever Ash Wednesday service. Our spin on the ancient church season of Lent – what we call our 40 Days of Faith – tends to start the Sunday six weeks before Easter.

But this year, we honor the traditional beginning for those interested, a Wednesday in which we remember our own mortality and God’s grace in loving us – limited as we are – and in carrying our lives and all of human history and everything else that is too big for us.

One of our pastors, Cate, found this poem, which I wanted to pass on for you all as well.

Blessing the Dust
A Blessing 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