Wednesday, March 05, 2014

"From What Is Left" - A Prayer for Ash Wednesday

On dark nights,
when worn-out souls long for relief,
we are keenly aware of our loneliness,
our failures,
our doubts,
our smallness,
past moments we wish we could have back.

Our spiritual comforts wither
when the shadows accuse us so.
The old answers are no longer reliable;
the usual assurances no longer soothing.

This new darkness
relentlessly present
reduces us to shrunken incarnations of who we were
before it engulfed our hearts.

We are burned up and burned out,
ashes of former things all that remain.

We cry to you,
mouths full of cinders,
dry throats forcing out petitions,
hoping you will hear us
straining for something just beyond our ability to believe.

We detect a glow at the center of our smoldering,
a light from a divine place deep within
that we didn't ignite.
You point us back toward it,
which is really to yourself:
You who had been there even
when our imperfect names for it fall away.

Mold us into new forms
from what is left,
earthen vessels ever illuminated by heavenly flame,
anticipating resurrection.