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  • Writer's picturePhil



Forty days alone, a wilderness of thoughts, tempting and inviting thoughts, which could so easily have distracted you from your task, your mission, your vision.

Yet you emerged, stronger and more attuned to all that had to be done, despite a time constraint that to our eyes would have seemed hopeless.

We too live in stressful times. Demands are made of our time, that leave so little for the important things of life.

We are easily distracted in the wilderness of our lives, by every call to go this way or that, to turn stone to bread leap from mountains, and do all that would keep us from the truth.

We listen to the voices of this world, and ignore the one who endured all this and so much more, and emerged triumphant, that we might not have to suffer so.

Forgive us, Father, when we get distracted from our task. Forgive us those times when we try to be all things to all people, and fail to be anything to anyone.

John Birch

BLESSING THE DUST A Blessing for Ash Wednesday

Jan Richardson from "Circle of Grace".

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.

You are the peace of all things calm You are the place to hide from harm You are the light that shines in dark You are the heart's eternal spark You are the door that's open wide You are the guest who waits inside You are the stranger at the door You are the calling of the poor You are my Lord and with me from ill You are the light, the truth, the way You are my Saviour this very day.

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