Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Ash Wednesday 2011

It happened again. Of course, it always does, for Ash Wednesday comes ‘round every year.

I needed it this year perhaps more than some years. This liturgy suited me today. I needed the reminder of my creatureliness, my smallness in this world and in the cosmos. And my smallness even in my community.

This year, it was hard to hear – but in a healthy way – “Remember thou art dust, and to dust you shall return.” I was sitting fairly far back in the nave. By the time I stood to move to the altar for the imposition of ashes, I had heard my priest say it dozens of times to people kneeling at the altar. “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” My friends, it hammered me. “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Kneeling in my place, waiting to move to the rail. Hearing my priest say it again and again, to person after person. “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

I was strangely happy to kneel and recite Psalm 51 and the Litany of Penance. Tears flowed. No big surprise there. They always do on this day in which we come starkly face to face with our faults, our failings … our sin.

What a blessing it was, then, to go through the Ash Wednesday liturgy, with all its lamentations … and then to Eucharistic Prayer A, where the priest says, “Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself ….” And to remember the opening words of the Ash Wednesday liturgy: "Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made ...."

What a contrast between our confessions of sinfulness and the reminders of God's infinite love for us. I need to be mindful of my sins. But I am also assured of God's love for me and for all God has created.

I’m still reeling with that.

I am grateful that we have 40 days of Lent. Perhaps I can ponder that conflict. We sin in all manner of ways, large and small. And yet we are beloved children of God. I can’t wrap my mind around that love on this Ash Wednesday.


Blogger Kirkepiscatoid said...

I have found myself very peaceful about Lent this year. Perhaps it is that "creatureliness" you like to talk about.

Lent is historically my "winter of discontent." It has historically been a time of being dissatisfied with myself, irritated with myself, and overwhelmed with the "turning" I feel I must do.

But this year, I feel literally held in the balance of mortality and immortality--the recognition of only having a finite time in this world in which I can ripple it, while at the same time feeling like we are allowed multiple do-overs in it.

I feel hope and faith in this season like I've never felt it before. I feel very intentional about being in the "now."

But it really is feeling like I'm being HELD in this balance, rather than the old feeling of having a foot in each world and them pulling against each other until I am doing the splits.

I can't really describe it yet, other than that. At the end of the 40 days, perhaps I can.

3/09/2011 9:54 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Maria, you sparked something in me, in your comments off mine.

Mind you, I don't beat myself up in Lent.

But maybe there's something to be said for our "creatureliness" toward God.

Think about how you and I feel about our cats and dogs and equines. We love them ... adore them. Even when they poop on the rug or scratch us. ... Maybe there's something here to ponder? Dunno.

3/09/2011 10:29 PM  
Blogger Kirkepiscatoid said...

In short, yeah, I do!!!!!

3/10/2011 8:21 AM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Lent came just in time for me. I was ready. The service last evening was quite moving - ours also with Eucharistic prayer A.

3/10/2011 6:04 PM  
Blogger it's margaret said...

Glad to see you back and blogging. Much love to you. And a blessed Lent.

3/11/2011 4:35 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

So was I, Mimi. My only regret was that I had to go to the noontime service, which has no music. The evening service has music ... but I probably would have lost it.

3/12/2011 11:08 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thank you, Margaret. Travel (and recuperation after travel) have slowed me down ... but I do hope I can get back into a regular blogging routine.

BTW, I read what you wrote about Ash Wednesday, and I do understand. But there's a part of me that yearns for this annual, ritual reminder of my creatureliness.

3/12/2011 11:10 PM  
Blogger Kirstin said...

Reeling with God's love is a good way to be.

3/13/2011 7:27 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Amen, Kirstin!

3/13/2011 8:45 PM  

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