Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down"

Psalm 102:11
My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass.

Genesis 3:19
Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.

Today is Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent. A season in the church year dedicated to repentance and fasting. To the giving up or taking on of a practice which will draw us closer to the Lord.

It is also a time when we are asked, willingly or unwillingly, to contemplate our own mortality. The ashes from palms burned after the previous Palm Sunday are used to place the symbol of the cross on our foreheads.

The symbol of suffering.

Of dying . . .

When the Father turned His face away. For. Just. That. Moment . . .

And, eternal flesh and blood succumbed to death.

Became fully one of us.

The living who will die.

Flickering shadows. Shriveled grasses.

The bodies returned to the dust . . .

Yet, out of the ashes a promise is raised.

Of new life. Of hope. Of faith renewed.

For down this long, reflective, self-denying, forty-day road - a light.

Glorious in splendor.

Shining from an empty tomb.


He is risen!

We, too, will rise from the ashes.

And, enter into new life with the Lord.
Will you be attending an Ash Wednesday service?

Will you pray with me?
During this season of Lent, Father, give to us repentant and obedient hearts. Help those practices we are giving up or the disciplines we are taking on draw us closer to You. Prepare us in all humility to receive joyously at the end of this journey Your promise of eternal life. Amen.

Psalms 95, 32, 143 or 102, 130
Amos 5:6-15
Hebrews 12:1-14
Luke 18:9-14


  1. It's always interesting to read your thoughts, your words - you have a wonderful way of expressing them x

    1. Thanks so much, Sarah-Jane, for stopping by today. It gratifies me to know that my thoughts and words have touched you in a special way. I am honored by your compliment.
      Blessings to you!

  2. I love this reflection, Martha. Such poetry here and so much depth: Flickering shadows. Shriveled grasses.The bodies returned to the dust . . .Yet, out of the ashes a promise is raised. Of new life. Of hope. Of faith renewed.
    Better than any Ash Wednesday sermon I've heard! ♥

    1. Oh, Corinne, thank you so much for your kind compliment! Means so much, especially coming from you. :)
      Hope today marks the beginning of a blessed Lent for you!
      God bless always!<3

  3. Martha, what a touchingly beautiful post on the meaning of Ash Wednesday. We all return to the dust but rise as Christ new life.
    I just called my husband. He's in Mass at his dying father's bedside. Your post brought the spiritual meaning of death to mind. We have hope because He lives.
    Sending my love Martha. This post was very helpful. I can't wait to read your book my dear.

    1. Oh, Leah, I am so sorry to hear this news of your father-in-law; so, so hard to lose a loved one even though we, as you said, "have hope because He lives".
      Gratified to know you found this post helpful for you at this time. I am humbled . . .
      God's peace be with you and your husband.
      Blessings always,

  4. Lovely contemplation of the Lenten season!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, RoseAnn, and thank you for your kind comment. So glad the post spoke to you today. :)

  5. The title comes part of a nursery rhyme my little niece and I used to sing when she was two...I didn't give it so much meaning until I read your post last night. I liked how spontaneously you wrote your reflections as if in a moment of oratio. "We all fall down" symbolizes the fragility of humanity and the reality of our mortality.The reflection on death comes very close these days butI do believe in Christ's Resurrection. I pray and journey with you these forty days Martha. Thank you for edifying my soul :)

    1. Thank you, Melissa, for your precious comments here and for taking time to visit with me.
      Did you know that the "Ashes, Ashes" rhyme originated during the Black Plague that hit Europe in the Middle Ages? Death was, indeed, everywhere!
      You guessed me right, too: this post was one of the most spontaneous I have written.
      And, we place our hope in Christ, in life and in death.
      Looking forward to traveling this journey together!
      Blessings always!


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