Since I restarted my blog in February, I’ve kept more or less to the schedule of topics I had laid out for myself, though towards the end of the month I found it difficult to write every day. One topic would keep my interest for several days and I found it a bit choppy to move from one topic to another. So with the season of Lent beginning today, Ash Wednesday, I challenge myself to a different project. I’ve been reading several different Lenten devotionals that have come through the church where I work. Each one is quite different and I am looking forward to reading a few of these short vignettes throughout the next 40+ days. A few years back, I had felt a wanting to write my own devotionals during the Lenten season but wasn’t able to keep it up for long. God grant me grace and perseverance to try again.
If you have a suggestion for a passage or would like to contribute your own devotional, please email me at rachel.e.stacy(at)gmail.com.
Ash Wednesday, March 5, 2014
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:10-13)
This past week, I was talking with a group of friends, and one of them mentioned that she felt like there was a cloud of dust following her around everywhere like the character Pig-Pen from the cartoon Peanuts. We talked with her about what that cloud of dust was and how she might find peace from it.
Today, in the liturgy of Ash Wednesday the term “You are dust and to dust you shall return” is central to the anointing of the ashes to the foreheads of those present. I am stuck by the idea that we are not only surrounded by our own clouds of dust (business, exhaustion, frustration, etc) but we are also that dust. So often do I separate out the good and bad in my life and attempt to minimize what ails me and increase what gives me life without remembering that to be human is to exist in the chaos of it all.
Perichoresis is a theological term that describes the Trinitarian God-head (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) as three parts in relationship, spinning so fast together that we can only perceive one essence. In seminary, I heard this term called the “Cosmic Dance” and I have used it to describe my experiences of self as well as the divine. While when that cloud of dust is thick, it’s hard to see things like joy, beauty, love and grace spinning around in there, like the presence of the mineral mica in dust, the sparkles are there.
Dear God, help me find the sparkles that surround me and are me. Help me accept and love the harder parts of my life and remember that I am more than the pieces I can see. Stop me, O God, in my daily walk to show me the joys of your creation so that I may feel your presence, your power and your glory.