Ash Wednesday

by Diane Avery

Psalm 103
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Our savior, who calls us always to draw nearer, closer still in the movement that informs our lives, sustain us in our struggle to give ourselves wholly to thee. Help us, we pray, to increasingly make all that we are called to be have only thee at our center.

T.S. Eliot perceives this convergence as “the heart of light, the silence.” With humility and immense yearning, we would learn in this time of preparationto approach that light. Help us, we pray, to distance ourselves from those worldly preoccupations that merely reflect our need for affirmation from others.

May we replace our hunger for approbation with a newfound strength to fully fix our souls on thee, putting aside the personas with which we have sought to establish identities apart from what thou would have us be.

As you made us free, help us to choose more worthy things on which to focus. Give us the courage to try to understand what becoming genuinely loving entails, moment by moment-what it asks of us.

Help us, we pray, to cast ourselves utterly on thy unfailing mercy, to give ourselves only to those things which may bring joy to thee. And once we have learned to be with thee, close to thy heart, help us to carry that light into the world in an ever-widening circle.

Finally, may we accept that only love illuminates the shadows. In the days of holy preparation that lie ahead, help us to place our treasure where it originated: in thy love. Slowly, haltingly, let us learn to love one another.

Help us to know that thou will provide the light. Amen.