We’ve washed away the ashes from yesterday but the truths of Ash Wednesday remain. From dust we have come and to dust we shall return. This truth is articulated in a beautiful and creative way in the Mary Oliver poem, The Summer Day. The poem reflects on the wonder and the brevity of life and ends with the lines:
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
That last line of Mary Oliver’s poem melds well with the Ash Wednesday liturgy and one of my favorite verses found in Ephesians chapter 4.
Live a worthy of the calling you have received
As I take the ash and make the sign of the cross on the forehead of the faithful, I often say, “From dust you came, to dust you shall return so take this one holy and sacred life and live love.”
The journey of Lent is an extended reflection on the truth that God has given us life. Like all of God’s gifts, we are but stewards of what we have received. It is not ours any more than the wind or the rain are ours to possess. We are called to be faithful with what we have been given. How will we live into our calling to love today? How will we give thanks for this one wild and precious life?
During our Lenten journey this year Pastor Mary and I will be leading a weekly reflection group on Tuesday nights. This Lenten series will provide an opportunity for people to connect with each other and with God as we reflect on the scriptures of our faith and on the poetry of Mary Oliver. I hope you will join us.