Lenten Prayer Practice

This Lent, in addition to giving up the eating of squash and drinking of mead (I kid, I kid), I am taking up the practice of daily prayer writing with Rachel Hackenberg. You can read more about it and her here. She led my most recent study leave week and I am most thankful for that experience.

While I am committing to writing every day, I’m not promising I will post them every day.

But here are the first two.

Ash Wednesday          Gen 18:27  “Who am I but dust and ashes?”

I swirl my thumb through the ashes in the little bowl Elliott made in kindergarten, and then I reach up, brush hair off the foreheads of the people I love, marking the cross on their foreheads, calling out their names in turn.

Cora…Virginia….Esther…Mike….Lori….Randy….Cheryl….

from dust you are and to dust you shall return.

What a privilege to speak of mortality in a sacred space. Pausing in the midst of our busy-ness to remember our own ending.

I remember, too, the foreheads I marked in previous years that are dust already. I miss their presence in our midst. I feel their presence in our midst still. I pray they aren’t resting in peace but are dancing in joy.

But this day, as I remember my ending, I am thankful for my continuing. For the breath that inspires, enlivens, my body. I am thankful for the gift of the three boys you knit together in my womb–each a gift and blessing. I am thankful for the house in which our bodies find a home and for the gift of my husband and partner.

Today as I remember dust and ending, I will choose gratitude. I won’t complain about grey hair, or knee pain, or a pudgy stomach. I will just be thankful for the continuing gift of this life, and will go out to dance in joy.

Amen.

Lent Day 2             Feb 14            Isaiah 10:21
“A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.”

“Remnant” makes me think of fabric, those pieces that are left over from a project, the remnant on a bolt of fabric, too small to be sold. Remnants often end up in a scrap pile, used as rags. And there are days when we feel like those kinds of remnants.

But occasionally, these scraps, the remnants, are brought together to become something beautiful. Quilts, patterned together from disparate fabrics, are both beautiful and useful, keeping us warm on cold nights.

Oh Lord, when we are feeling remnant-ish, fashion us together into something of beauty, allowing each of our gifts to serve the purpose of the whole. Fashion us together to be useful.

When we feel like remnants, cast on the scrap pile, remind us that our beauty and worth might best be seen if we offer them up for a bigger purpose, for your purposes. quilt copy

May we be a remnant that returns as something new, something strong and helpful, something of beauty.

Amen.

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