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Hither and Yon

An Offering


I just returned from the funeral of a friend’s friend at the Cathedral. I had never met the young man who died. I cried anyway-- along with the 1,000 other people in attendance who had been chatting and visiting just moments before the funeral began. We cried because the violin played a solo, because the paper on the bulletins is always the same cream-colored paper at Cathedral funerals, because the prayers are old, because the family was crying, because the stained glass windows were shining the afternoon light in the window, and because we are human. We sat and cried because in remembering our brother was dust, we were remembering how close to dust we can be. It is good and right to sit and cry at funerals, even for people we never knew. I know that communities have done that forever for each other. Maybe it is the last offering of the dead to the living-- to let us sit and cry for how sweet and tender life is sometimes.

February 6, 2008


It’s finally starting to sink in. At least that is what it felt like as the ashes burrowed into a wrinkle in my brow on Wednesday morning. For 16 years I have participated as a minister in Ash Wednesday services saying over and over “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” I have loved the humility and simplicity of the statement and the many, many, stories around the foreheads I have touched. This past Wednesday, however, the words were as powerful as I have ever heard. I could feel the enormity of the prayers before and after the imposition of ashes. I could feel the dignity of the long line of communities willing to forgive and love one another in this ritual. I could feel the power of people praying together to strengthen one another. Then, I came home and my son asked me to wipe the ashes off, which were now in a furrow of my brow. It was beautiful to think that after all these years of preaching and praying the ashes were finally sinking in and that the journey back to dust may happen slowly and with grace. It was a beautiful Ash Wednesday.



I'm a little self-conscious about this new endeavor. I am thankful, though, that there is now a place to store my writings where I don't have to search for my journal. Thank you for taking a moment to read this blog. I hope it is food for thought and the thought leads you to more action on behalf of peace and love. Any prayer you can throw my way would be much appreciated, and while you are offering it, please mention the women of Magdalene, the children in San Eduardo, the community trying to heal at the Hospice in Botswana and everybody in the whole world. peace,