February 17th, 2021

Today, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent with its call to turn toward the cross and follow Jesus to death and new life.Today many Christians around the globe, including Anabaptists will be marked with the sign of the cross with ashes and receive the words “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”This ritual is an act of repentance and a reminder of our own mortality. Our worship theme for this coming season is “Deep calls to deep.” In the coming weeks we are invited to go deep and to live deeply.This Friday and each Friday during Lent you will receive a “Lenten Guided Prayer”  which includes many options for reflection and prayer. It is my prayer that we will experience spiritual nourishment as we engage with Scripture and listen for God. You may want to take time for silence today to consider what other spiritual practices help you to go deeper with God and with one another.  In preparation for Sunday’s worship, please gather 6 stones which will represent our prayers for this season. We will be invited to participate in a reflective ritual during our worship service. May this season be rich with inspiration, listening, growth, self-reflection, and more.  As we begin our Lenten journey together, here is an Ash Wednesday Blessing by Jan Richardson

Blessing the Dust: For Ash Wednesday

All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners

or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—

did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?

This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.

This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.

This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within
the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil of
this sacred earth.

So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are

but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made
and the stars that blaze
in our bones
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.

– from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons