Ash Wednesday


tree branches

God of all peoples and creatures,
you knew the chaos that swirled before Creation
and the clash of tongues in Babylon;
you raised up humanity from dust by your breath,
and by your Spirit we may still be renewed.

But on this day of dust and ashes,
let us not turn too quickly to the hope of new life.
Let us first reacquaint ourselves
with our smoldering, crumbling, earthbound nature:
our ability to burn down all we have built up;
    our tendency to devastate, to ravage, to destroy
        every place where God dwells,
          where Christ abides and reaches out.

Let us come face to face with all we have failed to honor,
      every difference we refuse to celebrate,
      every fear-based judgment that drives us away from love,
      every certainty that lifts us above our brother, our sister,
            our neighbor, our enemy,
            our very own Belovedness of God.

We confess we are no more than dust and ashes,
      and we desire to turn from our destruction.

God of hope and healing, save us from ourselves;
breathe into us again and restore us as your children.
Draw order out of chaos once more:
let our tongues fall silent until guided by your Spirit;
let our steps fall in line with Christ’s journey through the wilderness;
let our hands reach out in care and re-creation
      where your work is still to be done.

And in life, in death, and in life beyond death,
may we be marked and claimed by your cross-shaped love.

Meditation Moment: Close your eyes and listen to the prayer read by the author:


Permission is granted for use in corporate setting. Copyright © 2012 The Upper Room. Used with permission. Download your digital copy of this issue of Alive Now on “Civility.” Call 800.972.0433 to order printed copies for yourself, your small group, or congregation.

Kerry Greenhill is a Deacon who serves as Field Coordinator for Imagine No Malaria in the Rocky Mountain Conference (UMC), and as Communications Manager for the health care advocacy organization Family Voices Colorado. Kerry’s husband and two cats have learned to adapt their lives to the Downton Abbey schedule.

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