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Meditation on Ash Wednesday


by Gregory Holmes Singleton


Glitter tossed in the trash,

Pancakes consumed;

Now we awaken midweek

To hear and speak truth:

“We are in bondage to sin,

And we cannot free ourselves.”

And so we begin again.

Before we receive

We will declare,

Domine non sum dignus!”

Weeks hence,

As altar stands bare,

We accuse ourselves:

“I am a worm,

Scorned and despised.”

Even then,

On the cusp of salvation,

We begin again.

You Lord

Have taught us,

Have purged us.

We hear joy.

And then forget,

Or rather

Choose not to remember.

And so we begin again.

We will teach, Lord,

Once we have learned.

You hide your face from our sins.

You blot them out.

You create anew.

And so we begin again.

But for the time being

We are obsessed with past misdeeds.

We reject the blotting-out,

Perversely delighting in agony

The remembrance of sin.

We despoil each new creation.

And so we begin again.
We cried out for peace last year,

And the years before,

And war has not ceased,

Our streets run red

With the blood of our children.

And so we begin again.

You do not despise,

O Lord of Love,

O giver of Grace.

Yet we fail

To grab that Grace

So freely given.

We don’t believe

In Love so pure.

In despair we despise;

Mostly ourselves.

And so we begin again.

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