Ash Wednesday Prayer of Lament

One of our beloved members, Rebecca Stanley, wrote this beautiful and moving prayer of lament for our Ash Wednesday gathering:

How Long Oh Lord?

How long will you hide your face from us, Oh Lord?

We are weary and the world seems gone mad. Our neighbors across all the nations cry with hunger and thirst unsatisfied. Wars and rumors and rumblings of pain fill our ears, while politicians offer unsatisfactory answers to our grief and fears, and our anxieties multiply within us.  We try to catch our pain with words, or tears leaked salty from blinking eyes.

We are lonely and tired, we are isolated and angry. We want to hear your voice, Lord, to feel your nearness; but it seems at every turn all we find is silence. Silence covered by a relentless news cycle, silence marked mainly by all the noise. I find myself afraid of what lies ahead for our immigrant friends, what might heal these broken streets, a broken community, what future our children are growing up into. Our news-feeds flicker with calamity and complaints, evidences of the ways we have forgotten that we belong to each other. We have allowed our neighbors to become strangers, and refused to allow the stranger to become a neighbor.

Ashes wiped dirty across my forehead, a reminder to myself that I have come from dust, and to dust I will return. A reminder of the way Jesus lived in desert dust for 40 days, the way your people wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. We need your nearness now more than ever, as we enter into this season of lent. Of ashes and dust and wilderness wandering on the path to the cross. We prepare ourselves for death, and for resurrection. Allowing ourselves in this moment to live differently, to start with the death and the emptying and live backwards to the birth and forwards to the resurrection simultaneously.

And so I pray that today, we will be reminded that though we are tired, heartbroken, yearning for more, settling for less, broke, afraid, rejected, addicted, disillusioned, lonely, or doubting; no matter who or what we are, we find hope together in the promise that You are the one who formed the very dust of the earth and our bodies alike, and that you love us desperately and offer grace to us all.

– Rebecca Stanley

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