Log splitting, snow scooping

paper shredding, line sinking

lap swimming, wool spinning

song singing, stone clinging

weed pulling, vacuum pushing

chord playing, kitten petting

hammer pounding, dirt digging

dog chasing, country driving

distance running, twirl dancing

weightlifting, ball kicking

hair yanking, journal writing

candle lighting, gentle sharing

Zen painting, hands praising…


There are countless ways of praying and releasing

our failures and fears to God that have embedded

themselves deep into our muscles and tissues

while stymying healing of body, mind, and spirit.


In this season of Lent, we stop long enough to

humbly acknowledge that we are forgiven and

release our misdeeds up to the sky, bury in the

soil, kindle the flames, or out to flowing waters.


When you’re ready to accept the challenge and be

relieved of the burden it’s simple enough to

 join in the liturgy. Prayerfully make the sign of

the cross on your forehead with palm ashes.


 Now it’s time to dance about the room,

delighting in God’s awesome love for you.


Ash Wednesday comes early this year, in the most frigid part of the winter. So fresh in our memories are bone cold days in which we bundle up in wool socks and prayer shawls even when at home with the furnace running. Rolling power outages are something new for us, but we can handle it.

Back in the autumn of 2020, I don’t recall anyone complaining of the extended Indian Summer. Certainly, you heard no complaints from me. And now that we’ve been stuck in the extended arctic freeze of winter 2021, most of us wish that it’d warm up soon. Indeed, the seasons do spiral one into another, year after year. We can trust that one day before long, winter will diminish, and the snow will have nourished the lovely spring bulbs that bloom.

The Season of Lent is when we wear purple and aspire to recognize the sinfulness within as preparation to turn away from all that we’ve done and have failed to do. Each of the forty days of Lent we offer prayers of repentance. Believing the words of John the Baptizer and Jesus (Mark 1:15), we begin anew. God’s grace becomes crystal clear to us! Refreshed in the love of God we are able to love one’s self, love others, and love the world. Ash Wednesday does not have a glamourous name or fun theme yet leads to a wonderful life if we allow ourselves to live into forgiveness and wholeness.

Listen to the words of the Messenger sent on the wings of the wind,

In God’s grace know that you are enough, you are loved, you are safe.

 Rev. Marta Wheeler