Dust and ashes

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

         Remember you are dust,
         and to dust you shall return.


Ashes are born of sorrow:
the lament of our sin,
the sadness of life spoiled and wasted,
the grief of things burned up.
         Fall, little tear, for the loss you endure.

Ashes are born of mortality:
the reminder that we have this little time
in which to shine our light
before our light is out,
our time is gone.
         Dear spark, the time to repent is now.

Ashes are born of humility:
of hummus, our humanness,
the dust of earth;
our common bond with living things
who need our love;
our source in death, decay, and mystery.
         Holy dust, dark soil, now birth us forth.

Ashes are born of tenderness,
for God knows how we are made
and remembers that we are dust—
how noble are even our poorest efforts—
and grants us grace.
         Fragile creature, your maker tends you with mercy.

         As in the beginning, Lord,
         take up this dust from your good earth,
         and breathe your life into us now,
         that we may be not ashes of a former gift,
         but living flame, alight and animate
         and born anew each moment by your grace.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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