Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Beginning Lent With Ashes And Stardust
Sr. Betty herself prepared the prayer for today and her titlt and introduction--adapted from information found on http://ecospiritualityresources.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/lent-2013-soil.pdf --I found particularly beautiful.
Ash (Stardust) Wednesday
"We are not only from Earth's dust; we are from stardust! From that initial burst of creative energy, God's creation continued--and continues--to evolve and diversify. The divine Life Source has been living and acting in our planet from its beginning! We are kin with the rest of creation. We are dependent on the web of life as was Jesus. Can you think of any life form not dependent on soil/dirt/the dust of stars? God clothes Mother Earth with soil/dirt for food, flowers, seeds, herbs, and trees; for filtering water and controlling water runoff; for habitat and migration routes for various species; for recycling all organics; and for the incredibly complex life that exists within the soil."
We then continued with a reading from Matthew's Gospel when Jesus tells his disciples about praying and fasting for the right reasons--not just to gain recognition and honor from their friends.
Together we prayed the prayer of blessing of the ashes:
"We pray that our loving and gracious God will bless us with these ashes as a mark of our connection with all creation and of repentance and the desire to do good...Loving and attentive God, you who see what is in our hearts, bless each of us, grant us your mercy and forgiveness, and set our feet on the path of peace. Teach us how to keep our "soil" healthy this Lent. Guide us to be just as we pray and fast and give alms. Help us to keep this Lenten season in preparation for the joy of Easter. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen."
Those who wished to receive ashes stepped forward and Sr. Betty marked each of their foreheads with the sign of the cross saying, "Remember that you are stardust and unto dust you shall return."
Following petitions asking God's blessings for those for whom we wished to pray, we closed by singing "All the Ends of the Earth."
After prayers Sr. Betty invited everyone to take a copy of the Lent 2013 Caring for Creation calendar. published by the Care for Creation Committee. You can download copies at http://site.adw.org/2013-lenten-calendar. You can also find a similar calendar that our congregation's environmental group has done on our website, http://www.osfphila.org/events.