Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Ash promise

The dark smudge on my forehead
feels dry and grainy.
Felt cool and damp as it was placed there.
Already it has changed
Remember you are dust
and to dust you shall return
Dry, sobering words
Very Scottish
Even Scottish Presbyterian
God forbid that any should forget
their humble beginnings
or equally humble, inevitable end
Summed up in a smudge of ash!
Sobering if that were all:
Remember that you are dust
and to dust you shall return.
But, there's more.
In those ashes
lies not just a salutary reminder
but an exhortation -
a call to turn from sin
and live out the gospel
an affirmation
that, from those humble beginnings,
we are called to great things
Turn from sin and live out the gospel
transforming the dirty smudge on my forehead
into an aspiration of service
changing its weight and import
into a sign of hope
that this ancient holy day ritual
still has import
In a world rushing on to the next thing
ashes become
symbols of love
carrying all the potential
to spread love
as the gospel is lived out
in ordinary people
in humble people
who don ashes
to change the world.

Liz Crumlish Lent 2012


Martha Spong said...


Beth said...

donning ashes to change the world - lovely - wonderful post - and all the others since as well. hugs

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