The Dawn of Lent
The day is come, the accepted day
When grace like nature flowers anew;
Trained by thy hand the surer way
Rejoice we in our springtime too.
Push away the Lenten gloom
that says this is the season
for trudging through the mud of life,
to reach the far off Promised Land.
Take a bowl of truth
and place within the palm cross
that has been held up over your daily life,
and slowly crush your sins.
Stir in the pure olive of God’s grace.
Let the cross of ash be for your healing,
as well as an outward sign
of your repentance,
and a pointer for your journey.
Let the Spring-signs that burst
through the cold crusty earth
help you to burst open your secrets
to a compassionate, forgiving Lord
and push through the dark earth
to the warming light of his transforming love.
Spring flowers will not wait until Easter
to speak of new life.
Lent is not a season for long-faced plodding,
or bemoaning how your petty fast feels;
but a time to leap…..take risks,
look outside your narrow vision,
to see Christ bid you onwards
both to the Hill and to the Tomb beyond
to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel-
to experience death and resurrection Now!
by C. S. Inspired by the sixth century Office Hymn
Malcolm Guite (born 1957)
Concerning Ash Wednesday
“Receive this cross of ash upon your brow
Brought from the burning of Palm Sunday's cross;
The forests of the world are burning now
And you make late repentance for the loss.
But all the trees of God would clap their hands,
The very stones themselves would shout and sing,
If you could covenant to love these lands
And recognize in Christ their lord and king.
He sees the slow destruction of those trees,
He weeps to see the ancient places burn,
And still you make what purchases you please
And still to dust and ashes you return.
But Hope could rise from ashes even now
Beginning with this sign upon your brow.”
From: The Word in the Wilderness