Ash Wednesday 2022

Photo by Greg Miller from his book “Unto Dust”(used with permission)

There is a Jewish saying that we should all carry a note in each pocket. In one pocket, the note should read “For you the universe was created.” The note in the other, “You are dust.”  Each year on Ash Wednesday, we are invited to step into the tension between those two truths and remain there during the forty days of Lent.

In this age of pandemic, climate crisis, systemic racism, and the horrors of war, not many of us need another reminder of our mortality, right?  But…if we read the notes in our spiritual “pockets” in light of each other, we realize that being reminded we will die makes living in a universe created for us poignant and awe-inspiring.  Getting to live every moment of our lives, however short and dusty they may be, in this extraordinary universe is a source of wonder, a cause for rejoicing.

“We are mortal and our mortality can open us to the wonder of life,” writes theologian Bruce Epperly (Ash Wednesday in a Time of War and Wonder).  “The brevity and uncertainty of life now invites me to praise, wonder, and beauty, and to seize the moment. This Ash Wednesday, my aim is to let go of everything that keeps me from rejoicing in the passing beauty of the earth. [Because] rejoicing leads to gratitude, and gratitude leads to sacrifice and activism… sacrifice to ensure beauty for the planet, justice in my nation and across the globe, and the wellbeing of future generations.  I will commit myself to sacrifice – and encourage others to sacrifice – for the common good of the planet and its broken peoples.”

We at the Maine Council of Churches invite you to “remember you are dust and to dust you shall return” because in the remembering, you will be led to rejoice in the beauty of creation, to be grateful for it, and to practice sacrificial activism on its behalf.  Toward that end, we’ll be sharing weekly meditations gleaned from the work of Brandi Miller, creator of the “Reclaiming My Theology” podcast and author of a Lenten devotional guide for 2022. Click HERE to order your copy of her Lent 2022 Devotional

We look forward to walking through Lent with you this year.  May it be a blessed journey.

Rev. Jane Field, Executive Director