Ash Wednesday


February 17, 2021
Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent and is a day of fasting.


Heaven and earth are full of your glory : Hosanna in the highest!
(from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals)



Psalm 95* & 32, 143 (*For the Invitatory)


    • Attend an Ash Wednesday service to receive the imposition of ashes
    • Choose a resurrection word to focus on during Lent, naming what you hope will be resurrected come Easter
    • Remove colorful decorations from central spaces; use bare branches or simple stones to create a focal point instead 


A palm frond set inside a stylized flame symbolizes the ashes, made from the burnt remains of last Palm Sunday’s splendor, which will mark the sign of the cross on our bodies. The image is encompassed by the Latin phrase “Remember man, you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” These words and symbols invite us to engage with our own mortality and sorrow over sin as we begin our Lenten journey.


All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners

or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—

did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?

This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.

This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.

This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within
the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil of
this sacred earth.

So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are

but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made
and the stars that blaze
in our bones
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.

Blessing the Dust For Ash Wednesday by Jan Richardson

“Blessing the Dust” also appears in Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons
Jan L. Richardson, Wanton Gospeller Press, 2015