Children sing it joyfully. Dancing in celebration of all the good and playful engagements that childhood is made of. On Ash Wednesday the song played and replayed in mind…
“… ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”
Ash Wednesday is a reminder that from dust we came and to dust we will return. It is a reminder that the cross is at the end of dust.
We, His beloved, are at the end of dust.
The forest fire wipes clean the growth of everything that is dead and barren, but in just a little while we see the new growth rise from the ashes. Resurrection.
If we can hold on just a little while longer, and sometimes just a little while longer yet.
The earth doesn’t want the pain of fire. There is a surrender to the flames that are beyond its control. Beyond our control. Something greater is about to happen, but it is painful, oh so painful right now.
So Lent begins – ashes, ashes, ashes.
We are reminded that all of life is a circle – a ring around which we play and joyfully sing…
…and the fire where we fall.
We are feeble. We are burned. It’s terrifying. Exhausting. We cry out for answers in the midst of the flames but all we get back is the crackling of the fire. Noise, chaos, confusion. We strain to listen for that still small voice… (I Kings 19:12).
…we know you are there God. We are listening for your to speak. We are begging you to respond.
Are you weeping too? God my Father – is your son grieving? Is your Spirit moving? Is the Trinity mourning with me? What does your dance look like today?
My friend is in the fire with her little girl. Her beloved. Claire has been struggling with life-threatening medical issues for too long. Pain for too long. A ring of ashes without the joy. Every day in March is an anniversary of one year of hospital stays. One year of turmoil. One year of suffering
Lent ushers in a long year of ashes for Claire.
The pain and the fear are unbearable. Yet God remains silent in the midst of it all and the questions rise. The unbreakable wall between the fire and safety grows bigger. All God has to do is shout and the wall comes down.
Why don’t you shout Lord?
Why are You silent?
Why don’t you break down the wall between death and life, winter and spring, suffering and joy?
You are in the whispers, the gentle, the consoling. We have to strain our ears to listen and the noise drowns out Your voice.
Yet, You are there in the pain. In the fire. In the suffering.
In the Love
He doesn’t shout over our fears or command over the fire – He walks in the pain, through the flames, consumes the fire.
God stills our hearts. He embraces our soul. He picks us up when we fall in the ashes. He cradles the grief, the loss, the emptiness, and the questions.
We may not know when, or how, or always have the answers we hope for – the longed for answers…
…but we have Him.
And he remains. Even when it feels as if he is an eternity away.
God is in the dance of pain and suffering and leading the ring of weeping. He is holding our hands with a grasp that never, ever lets go. He is breathing, and moving, and flowing through the new life that springs from destruction. It’s just a tiny indistinguishable seed among the ruins right now but it is there…
…growing, yearning, reaching for the life.
He is nurturing the seed and bringing life. To Him, it is already a forest full of grace and beauty, planted before we were formed – growing as we wait.
We wait for the end of times that is just the beginning of something greater. As mother’s we question and cry and suffer, and ponder…
… and Hope.
We hope with vision. We believe that what we don’t yet see is greater than we can imagine. We hope for the rains. We hope for the sun to shine. We hope for the light.
We hope for Life.
God, our mother hearts wait for you. Among the ashes, we wait.
Please pray for Claire and Claire’s family.