In getting ready for the season of Lent, I offered this blessing of the dust at our Ash Wednesday service:
BLESSING THE DUST
All those days you felt like dust, like dirt, as if all you had to do was turn your face toward the wind and be scattered to the four corners or swept away by the smallest breath as insubstantial—did you not know what the Holy One can do with dust? This is the day we freely say we are scorched.
This is the hour we are marked by what has made it through the burning. This is the moment we ask for the blessing that lives within the ancient ashes, that makes its home inside the soil of this sacred earth.
So let us be marked not for sorrow. And let us be marked not for shame.
Let us be marked not for false humility or for thinking we are less than we are but for claiming what God can do within the dust, within the dirt, within the stuff of which the world is made and the stars that blaze in our bones and the galaxies that spiral inside the smudge we bear.
—Jan Richardson from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons
On the first Sunday of Lent I invited the congregation to enter a season of Selah. “Throughout the Book of Psalms, we encounter this Hebrew term at least seventy-one times. It even appears three times in Habakkuk. While the word has not been definitively defined in scripture, the placement of the word suggests a shift, pause, break, or interruption; it suggests exhaling or resting from routine activities. It is thought that the “Selah” functions much like a musical rest. This describes how we should understand our posture throughout the forty days of Lent. Christians are urged to refrain from business as usual in order to attend to the body, spirit, mind, soul, and heart. It is a time set aside for worshipers to connect their faith walk with the ways in which they live, move, and have their being throughout daily life. Thus, the trajectory for the Lenten journey is a renewed spirit and a genuine desire to become an incarnational presence in the world.” –Global Board of Discipleship Worship PlanningMay you be blessed this Lenten season…selah