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Ashes to Ashes

Church entrance with landscaping and a welcoming door
Date:  March 4, 2022

By Peggy Eastman, Poet-in-Residence

Burdened by our mortality,
we Your unworthy creatures
kneel before You, Lord, offering up
our unruly hearts. Far from constant
are they in love of You, much as
we would wish them to be. But we
have nothing else to offer.
Ashes to ashes.
Mark us, Lord, and let this ashen cross
be a sign of all You would burn out
of us, all that mars, sullies and stains.
What is ash but fire’s grave?
How our transgressions have grieved You
we know too well; consign them to
the grave, Lord, we pray.
Ashes to ashes.
Like frail reeds that sway with
every wayward wind, we have not
stood firmly before You; we beg Your
gracious clemency. We have not been
good and faithful servants; we have
neglected Your vineyard and its vines
are sickly and deformed. Help us hold
to Your will and ever do what
will be pleasing in Your sight.
Ashes to ashes.
Let all who see these ashes bear witness
to our deep desire for pardon long after
the ashen mark has left our faces. Let us
remember how we knelt in penitence
before You, longing to begin the inward
labor of prayer and denial of self
that would draw us closer to You.
Let us remember how we shouldered
the burden of our mortality anew,
seeking courage to live as people
wholly secure in Your succor.
Ashes to ashes, grave to new life.

Copyright © by Peggy Eastman, 2021

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