Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

Today we begin Lent, the season of fasting, simplicity and penitence. We begin again in the ashes, with the stark reminder of our own mortality.

We will kneel in silence, and we will be branded on our foreheads with the ashes burned from the palms of last year's Palm Sunday.

For a few brief moments we are reminded that we will leave this earth, our bodies will die and disappear, but we will be made new and whole.

Our own mortality is not an easy topic, and why would it be? Maybe the poets grasp this fact better, and can help us to see it with a little less fear. I was looking through a remarkable book of poems last night, The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing, edited by Kevin Young, and I came across this poem which I share with you:
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Notes from the Other Side
By Jane Kenyon

I divested myself of despair

I divested myself of despair
and fear when I came here.

Now there is no more catching
one's own eye in the mirror,

there are no bad books, no plastic,
no insurance premiums, and of course

no illness. Contrition
does not exist, nor gnashing

of teeth. No one howls as the first
clod of earth hits the casket.

The poor we no longer have with us.
Our calm hearts strike only the hour,

and God, as promised, proves
to be mercy clothed in light.
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Please join us today for one of our Ash Wednesday services:
7:30 am
12:10 pm,
5:30 pm
7:30 pm (with choir)
We are again offering a special booklet of reflections for each day of Lent written by members of the St. Paul's congregation. The booklets are free, and you can pick up a copy at the church. Or you can read each day's reflection on a special blog by clicking HERE.

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