Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ashes and Lent

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

So began the day, so begins the season. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, marks the time in the church year when we walk with Jesus to Jerusalem and to the cross.

The ashes remind us of Jesus' journey to the cross and of human sin which grieves God. They remind us of our own mortality. And they also serve as a mark of God's grace. As we carry Christ's cross with us, so also we share in his resurrection.

This morning, lay ministers from St. Matthew's offered ashes to more than 160 commuters at the Grove Street PATH station, the sixth year now. It is always a bit amazing the way people will stop, sometimes turning around, when they feel that God is close, reaching out to them, touchable.

This year our congregation's approach to Lent is to keep it simple. Sunday worship. Wednesday evening gathering for prayer and contemplation with scripture. We'll join with another congregation to walk a labyrinth.

Sometimes, the most we can manage is putting one foot in front of the other, trusting that God will guide us.

I'd appreciate your reflections and reports on the day and the season. How will you observe Ash Wednesday? What will you and your congregation be doing this Lent? And where are you in this - what's it mean, and how does this fit into your pilgrimage?
 

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Prayer of the day

For whom this day do we need to pray?

For the people answering customer service hotlines...
For everyone in debt...
For those who work outside in the cold...
For those who are homebound...
For everyone trying to make a budget or a payroll...
For those who are imprisoned...
For child soldiers...
For those who prepare meals...
For Rod Blagojevich...
For doubters, and still more for the cynical...
For all those who work for the church...
For musicians and artists and poets...
For AA and NA and OA and GA and DA and all those seeking recovery...
For the past and present readers of this blog...
For prophets...
For parents, siblings, children...

And for ourselves, dear Lord, that you may dwell in us. That we may have what we need. That we may be known by others. That love may grow in our lives and relationships. That prayer be often on our lips, that we be blessed to give and to receive, and that you see us safely home to the peace we have in Christ Jesus. Amen.