Grace upon grace


In this bread and cup,
broken and blessed,
the common made mystically uncommon,
the simple meal transformed.
Grace upon grace.

In the candlelight,
torn hearts,
broken promises,
mercy offered,
forgiveness granted.
Grace upon grace.

Burnt palm branches
mixed with oil,
cross imposed on hand or forehead
with gentle touch and humble words:
Beloved child of God,
Remember you are dust, and to the dust you will return.
Blessed Be.

From Christ’s fullness we have all received grace upon grace…
John 1:16

Burning my Hosannas

Hosanna! 
Hosanna! 
Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!


I remember…
hands raised in praise
the streets filled with people
shouts of joy
“blessed, how blessed!”

months go by
discouraged and tired
the heart is weary
“why, Lord, why?”

how I’ve failed
what I’ve done
what I’ve not done
all the ways I’ve wandered…

Remember you are dust…

 

tonight I burned my Hosannas
remembering the ways my heart has wandered
the cross I wear on my forehead tomorrow
will be a sign
that I remember
and I am wandering back…

Remember you are Dust…

One day can be a lot like another… But today, at the end of the day, I changed one role for the other.

I stepped out of my chaplain role and donned my pastor’s robe and stole, and assisted in leading the Ash Wednesday service with my pastor and friend, Jill. We shared soup and rolls, and Scripture from the Psalms. It was an evening of prayers, of miscues, of wrong notes and hard topics. It was a night with the subtext, “Welcome to a service where we are all going to remember that we are mortal.”

Ash Wednesday is that time of solemn reflection, of admitting that this life we worry about every day is so… Temporary. It is a day of pastoral irony that we, who are supposed to inspire, encourage and remind others of the joys of the eternal, have the most visible stain of mortality on our hands. My thumb and forefinger had black in every crease, every wrinkle, every hangnail.

 

Remember…

It was especially poignant for me in that today is the anniversary of my dad’s death in  February 10, 2000.

Today as I read Scripture and left a cross on the forehead of my patients and their families, I remembered him, and my mom, and my sibs. I remembered the waiting, the wondering, the sad relief. It isn’t something I think about every day. But I did today…

Remember you are formed from the dust of the earth…

And to the dust, you will return.

Ash Wednesday is just the beginning of the journey through Lent. It is a wandering and reflecting time. There is time for introspection and repentance, but life does not stay in the morose and mortal. For these next 40 days, we are taking an intentional journey towards the Cross and an empty Tomb. Death does not stay defeated!

But for tonight… We reflect. We consider. We remember….

Blessed be the Name.