During the season of Lent, I will be sharing a short post each day as part of the Lent-Photo-a-Day Journey, providing a sort of brief reflection and witness through the journey to and through the cross, to the tomb, and out into the world. Since this is the first day of the exercise, I have provided the outline here at right.
The word designated for today, Ash Wednesday, February 18th, is “Dust.”
Thinking of “dust,” I would like to share with you the text that the choir I direct at a local congregation sang tonight. The text written by Thomas H. Troeger is entitled, “All Things of Dust to Dust Return.”
“All things of dust to dust return on earth and in the sky. The hottest, brightest suns that burn in time grow dim and die. The fish that leap, the birds that soar, the new born young that play, the leaves that fill the forest floor revert to dust and clay. Lord, mark with dust and ash my brow so I may comprehend that every moment here and now links me to that same end. I share with all that breathe and burn, that flare and fade and tire yet by their waning light discern your own undying fire. Lord, mark upon my brow this sign: a stark and barren cross reminding me that though divine you know my pain and loss, and at the touch of dust and ash awake my heart to view how death itself is but a flash that dies away in you.” – “All Things of Dust to Dust Return,” by Thomas H. Troeger
I felt that the worship today was meaningful and framed the Lenten journey well, so I would like to close this sharing with the sending we used in worship written by Ann Siddall:
“In the footsteps of centuries of pilgrims, go now to embark on your Lenten journey. Consider how you may simplify your days, so that you may travel lightly. Be alert to all that could side-track you: notice that which beckons alluringly, or with apparently greater urgency, than the pilgrim journey Christ invites. Do not try to cover more than one good day’s journey at a time. Know when to stop for food and sleep, so that the journey will not be too great for you. Walk humbly, knowing that the goal is not recognition, achievement or reward, but simply to have come to know Christ and yourself more intimately. Be on the lookout for other pilgrims, caring for those who limp, or fall; those who cannot see the way forward: pilgrimage is richer in community. Go now: place your hand into the outstretched hand of Jesus Christ, allow the words of the story to guide you, and pray for purity of heart and mind. Amen.”
I hope your Lenten journey is off to a meaningful start. Thank you for journeying with me.
“All Things of Dust to Dust Return,” by Thomas H. Troeger & John Ferguson. (Text: 1983 Oxford University Press. Music: 2005 Augsburg Fortress).
Ann Siddall, Lent to Easter liturgies: Year C. Posted here.