POEM: Robert Bly: Wanting Sumptuous Heavens (excerpt): Only we, with our opposable thumbs, want / Heaven to be, and God to come, again. / There is no end to our grumbling; we want / Comfortable earth and sumptuous Heaven.
QUOTE: George Orwell: Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord your God, for God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love…
WED, Feb 22
- ASHES to GO
- 8-10am: JTown Deli
- 10:15-11:30am: Autumn Nomad
- Noon-1:30pm: Glen Ledge Deli / McSheffreys North
- 2-3:45pm: JCC Sanctuary
- 4-4:30pm: Red Parka
- ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICE
- 7pm • Nativity Lutheran, North Conway
JCC attends Lutheran service to enjoy local clergy John Heropoulos , MDiv lead the liturgy
- 7pm • Nativity Lutheran, North Conway
MUSINGS on ASH
If you have become ash,
Then wait, you become a rose again.
And do not remember how often you have become ash,
But how often you were reborn in ashes to a new rose. ~ Rumi
I can hear the sizzle of newborn stars, and know anything of meaning, of the fierce magic emerging here. I am witness to flexible eternity, the evolving past, and I know we will live forever, as dust or breath in the face of stars, in the shifting pattern of winds. — Joy Harjo
SONGS about DUST & ASHES:
- Ashes by Celine Dion (pop):https://youtu.be/CX11yw6YL1w
- Dust In the Wind by Kansas (rock): https://youtu.be/tH2w6Oxx0kQ
- Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie (rock): https://youtu.be/HyMm4rJemtI
- Glimmer in the Dust by Hillsong (Christian): https://youtu.be/bYWgeEoVmhI
- Dust by Eli Young Band (pop): https://youtu.be/QN5QgYuuxs4
- Another One Bites the Dust by Queen (rock): https://youtu.be/rY0WxgSXdEE
- Dust by Steffany Gretzinger (Christian): https://youtu.be/yBJXMX8vti4
- Devils & Dust by Bruce Springsteen (rock): https://youtu.be/cG8ZQkeZvzc
- Ashes By Now by EmmyLou Harris (country): https://youtu.be/eSMqF8EtUsA
- Dirt to Dust by David Aldean (country): https://youtu.be/iaPHIcebF8I
- Ashes by Embrace (pop): https://youtu.be/EtQ9l0oQmXE
- Ashes by Meghan Trainor (pop): https://youtu.be/uwKg4pCRQfw
- Take These Ashes by Sarah Hart (Christian): https://youtu.be/QKQjYYtUZLY
WILL YOU MEET US? — Jan Richardson
Will you meet us in the ashes,
will you meet us in the ache
and show your face within our sorrow
and offer us your word of grace:
That you are life within the dying,
that you abide within the dust,
that you are what survives the burning,
that you arise to make us new.
And in our aching, you are breathing;
and in our weeping, you are here
within the hands that bear your blessing,
enfolding us within your love.
REND Your HEART
To receive this blessing, all you have to do
is let your heart break.
Let it crack open.
Let it fall apart / so that you can see
its secret chambers, the hidden spaces
where you have hesitated / to go.
Your entire life
is here, inscribed whole
upon your heart’s walls:
every path taken
or left behind,
every face you turned toward
or turned away,
every word spoken in love
or in rage,
every line of your life
you would prefer to leave
every story that shimmers
with treasures known
and those you have yet
It could take you days
to wander these rooms.
Forty, at least.
And so let this be
a season for wandering,
for trusting the breaking,
for tracing the rupture
that will return you
to the One who waits,
who works within
to make your heart
MARKED by ASHES (excerpt) — Walter Brueggeman
Ruler of the Night, Guarantor of the day . . .
This day — a gift from you.
This day — like none other you have ever given,
or we have ever received.
This Wednesday dazzles us
with gift and newness and possibility.
This Wednesday burdens us
with the tasks of the day,
for we are already halfway home
halfway back to committees and memos,
halfway back to calls and appointments,
halfway on to next Sunday,
halfway back, half frazzled, half expectant,
half turned toward you, half rather not.
This Wednesday is a long way from Ash Wednesday,
but all our Wednesdays are marked by ashes —
we begin this day with that taste of ash in our mouth:
of failed hope and broken promises,
of forgotten children and frightened women,
we ourselves are ashes to ashes,
dust to dust; we can taste our mortality
as we roll the ash around on our tongues.
We are able to ponder our ashness with some confidence,
only because our every Wednesday of ashes anticipates
your Easter victory over that dry, flaky taste of death.
On this Wednesday, we submit our ashen way to you —
you Easter parade of newness.
Before the sun sets, take our Wednesday and Easter us,
Easter us to joy and energy and courage and freedom;
Easter us that we may be fearless for your truth.
Come here and Easter our Wednesday
with mercy and justice and peace and generosity.
We pray as we wait for the
Risen One who comes soon.
PRAYER — Mary Oliver
May I never not be frisky,
May I never not be risque.
May my ashes, when you have them, friend,
and give them to the ocean,
leap in the froth of the waves,
still loving movement,
still ready, beyond all else,
to dance for the world.
MEDITATIONS on MUD & SOIL
― Thích Nhất Hạnh
It is possible of course to get stuck in the “mud” of life. It’s easy enough to notice mud all over you at times. The hardest thing to practice is not allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by despair. When you’re overwhelmed by despair, all you can see is suffering everywhere you look. You feel as if the worst thing is happening to you. But we must remember that suffering is a kind of mud that we need in order to generate joy and happiness. Without suffering, there’s no happiness. So we shouldn’t discriminate against the mud. We have to learn how to embrace and cradle our own suffering and the suffering of the world, with a lot of tenderness.
— and —
The soil of our mind contains many seeds, positive and negative. We are the gardeners who identify, water, and cultivate the best seeds.
Living Psalm 51—Ash Wednesday
CONFESSION for CREATION JUSTICE
Written by Maren Tirabassi
To any leader. A Psalm of David, when he took what he wanted, uncaring of the death and damage it caused, which was great.
Have mercy on us, O God,
with the love that shaped all creation,
for we confess that we have been the ones
who blotted out — made endangered and extinct —
creatures of air and land
by destroying their habitats.
If there is any clean water left, wash us,
but only after the creatures
of the oceans and lakes and rivers
return and are healed.
For we know our transgression —
we have torn off the tops of mountains
and our sin has fracked deep
into the very fissures of the earth.
Against you, melting your glaciers, we sin,
and we have done what is evil,
so that wildfires rage across
and the Amazon rainforest
and the fox and koala and ocelot
judge us by their death.
Indeed, we are guilty against the newly born
who will be eleven years-old,
when our greed changes their earth
beyond hope of repair.
You desire truth,
but we clutch lies about the climate.
Help us repent so we can hear wisdom,
and make us wise enough to repent.
Let us not be clean,
but dirty in a community garden,
and wet with sweat
because we have walked and biked,
taken buses instead of cars,
cleaned ourselves with quick showers.
Let us taste the joy of locavores,
celebrate grizzly, wolf, gray whale,
sea lion, panda,
who have come back to thriving.
Most of all — let our hearts be stirred
not by what makes us wealthy in money
but what makes us wealthy in future.
Create in us a pure heart, O God,
and renew in us
the Spirit that hovers over your creation.
Then we will let our children teach us,
honor sacred lands of indigenous peoples,
open our lips for national parks
and our mouths for wildlife refuges.
Deliver us from being destroyers, O God,
and give us tongues that call for change.
For you have no delight
when we pile abundance on abundance.
The gift that pleases you
is one pollinator saved —
butterfly and bee, O God, is our acceptable prayer.