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Rising (from the Ashes)

Yesterday, I awoke and stumbled from bed.
Ashen footsteps followed my form,
fingerprints smudged gray filth,
death flowed free from my mouth.

Ash kept hanging onto me,
harassing me about my grime and grit,
my mistakes and doubt,
my own mortal being.

I yelled about everything that had everything to do with ash.
And, then, I cried.

I cried for the way ash infiltrates the very core of my being.
For the pain it prompts,
the division it drives,
the wounds it wreaks.

I cried how life, at times, feels consumed by ash.
For broken connection,
grief and illness,
unwelcome intrusions.

I cried for this ash woven into the sins of humanity.
For guns which have no boundaries,
politicians who lie,
the hypocrisy of systems.

Because I cry,
Today, I take my mortal body,
the one that will become ash one day, and,
I walk into this place, this sanctuary.

I am marked by a mix of midnight black
and oil, the stuff that opens me raw
to awkwardness and exposure
among a pack of likewise pilgrims

“To dust you are, to dust you shall return”

I hear the story again, the tale I can’t get enough of
about the God-man who rose from the ashes of his life.
He took the mar and filth, the suffering and doubt;
he used it to live.

To live!

This filthy ash is resurrected to beauty
And, here I am again, believing
the crying of the ashes
leads to resurrection.

Rising from the ashes of today,
rising from the ashes upon death,
in this rhythm of death and rebirth,
lies the hidden space holding my hope.

(c) 2016 Ally Markotich

To Ponder:
Ash Wednesday is a day recognizing our own mortality and sinfulness with the anticipation of Christ’s rising from death on Easter Sunday and the hope of eternal life spent with Christ.

What in your own life feels like ash, as if it needs to be resurrected?

With a Harry Potter Fan:
In J.K. Rowling’s series, Harry Potter, J.K. uses the phoenix, Fawkes, as a symbol of death and rebirth. Consider how the symbol of the phoenix is representative of Christ’s death and resurrection.

If you are a new or returning pilgrim to the ritual of Ash Wednesday and live in the Moore County, NC area, please consider joining us at Community Presbyterian Church in Pinehurst, NC at 7pm for this meaningful service.

Lenten Journey:
Introduction to Lent: Theology (Both)And Imagination, found here.