Dear Kind and Gentle People,
Lots of us observe Ash Wednesday which begins the forty days of Lent and prepares us for the great fifty days of Easter. The scriptures frequently mention the use of ashes as an expression of humiliation and sorrow along with sackcloth or what we refer to as a “gunnysack” (very itchy). Traditionally, ashes are imposed upon the forehead, and nowadays sometimes on the back of a person’s hand. Covid precautions might include ashes by way of a cotton swab, to be disposed of after each use. The words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” are usually uttered over the penitent at this time. Evidently, as you age, these words become more powerful!
This year, on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, many of us will realize that there is no time to waste as we examine our humanness, our mortality, our finiteness. Some of us will be ministering with live, in person services at various times of the day. Others might be providing meditative music during the noon hour or assisting with the newfangled “Ash and Dash” from the church parking lot.
Psalm 51 is usually read or sung. Perhaps you might want to brush up on it and its colorful history (David and Bathsheba, i.e. murder, adultery and repentance). Verse 10, “Create in me a clean heart,” always seems to rattle in the brain as I audiate my favorite gospel/swing/jazz setting by Bob Hurd and Dominic MacAller, complete with alto sax embellishments. The rich text summons us to receive healing and wholeness by giving our hearts to the giver of life and being set free from error. As we receive light into the questionable areas of our being, the Merkaba, or light energy around our bodies radiates. We walk in light!
Ash Wednesday teaches us to live life to the fullest, to honor what we know to be true. It is a time to turn away from the distractions that ignore the earth and the people in our lives. On this day we are not so gently reminded that life on Gaia is precious and can be gone in an instant. You are invited to a day of healing and transformation. Ash Wednesday offers yet another opportunity to be responsible for the care of your soul and to walk in freedom from your burdens. Please answer the invitation with affirmative energy.
We are dust, but we are beloved dust, given love and blessing and opportunity to enjoy. So let us pay attention, squeeze our loved ones, listen to God through the quiet nudges of the Spirit and live each day to the fullest before we are called to the ultimate transformation and celebration.
Gobs of blessings and heaps of happiness.
Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney, Chaplain
UCC Musicians Association
P.O. Box 370631
West Hartford, CT 06137
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