Ash Wednesday

It’s not at all about the need to think of ourselves as awful.
For many of us, that already comes too easy.
If you don’t need a smear across your forehead
because you wear it on your heart every day
hear these words:
You are not awful.
God doesn’t think you’re awful.
You were not created awful.
There’s nothing divine that is born from believing you are awful.
If this is hard for you to accept, to believe, to hold deeply in your smeared heart,
spend some time with that this season.
You have been lied to.
Heal.
Resist.
Unlearn those prayers that make you small.
Come alive again before you remember death.
But then, when you do,
when you remember you are good,
don’t settle for believing the journey is complete.
It was never only yours to begin with.
Let it lead you to questions of us:
Why do we,
so good,
turn on each other?
Why do we,
so good,
allow for evil to flourish
through white supremacy
or patriarchy
or poverty
or queer and transphobia?
Created good.
Created good.
Created good.
But collectively invested in evil.
In its stories.
In its profits.
In its familiar.
To re-member
is a collective occasion.
A communal acknowledgment
of the choices before us.
Let the remember-ing
that we are dust
and to dust we will return
be a reckoning with our inseparable lives and deaths
be an apology for all we have chosen instead of each other
be a grounding in the promise
that we come from holy soil.
Holy dirt.
Holy dust.
Created good.
In need of tending.
Rich with potential for beauty.
Hungry for nutrients.
Wild and unruly.
Vulnerable.
The dust births new life.
The dust receives the dead.
In the dust we find each other
today
or eventually.