I've spent today's lunch hour thinking about Lent, gathering earth and dust, sand and ashes from around the neighborhood. Ash Wednesday. From the beach, I bagged a handful of wet sand; from the Pogonip Trail, another of deep, dark, winter soil. Right here at Peace United, I spooned two cups of dirt from our vegetable garden; and upstairs, I burned several palm fronds--last year's--into ash. Amazing, a friend once said, what God can do with dirt.
When we mix all of these, tonight, and trace the sign of a cross on our foreheads, we acknowledge our common ancestry in the earth. It's a faith thing. We confess our humility before the community of the cosmos. And we seek a deeper awareness of the ways we deny our calling here and refuse responsibility as lovers of the planet, tenders of its gardens and companions of all beings.
It's not a grim thing, not for me at least. Confession and grace dance hand in hand.
When we mix the wet sand in with the dark soil, when we stir last year's palms with dust from our own garden, we celebrate the circles of our lives, the interdependence of the living and the dead, the mistakes made and the hope always on offer.
Join us tonight, if you're in town. The Lenten Journey begins, dust to dust, earth to earth, grace to grace.