Third Space Ash Wednesday

We had the most special time together for the start of Lent. The following was what Sarah B put together for us:

Lent thought on pride, confession, forgiveness and purity –
Ash Wednesday represents a duality – time to confront our pride and confession of sin within
community, with the light of cleansing and forgiveness through God’s redeeming love in Jesus Christ.

We watched an ‘Ashes’ video and prayer from Work of the people and then heard this story:

Reading – Celtic Daily Prayer Book 1 – P123 (Samuel Moor Shoemaker)
The other morning some of us were together in a church where the rector was saying Morning Prayer,
and leading us in a guided silent prayer. He said “Let us pray for those whom we love”. And that was
easy. Then he said “Let us pray for those whom we we do not love”. And there rose before my mind
three men for whom I had to pray. They were men who had opposed my work. In this they may have
been wrong. But my wrong was in resentment and a feeling of letting myself be cut of from them, and
even praying for them because of it. Years ago I read a quotation from Mary Lyon that occurs to me
again and again: “Nine-tenths of our suffering is caused by others not thinking so much of us as we
think they ought”. If you want to know where pride nestles and festers in most of us, that is right
where it is; and it is not the opposition of others, but our own pride, which causes the deepest hurt. I
never read a word that penetrated more deeply into the sin of pride from which all of us suffer, bor
one which opens up more surgically our place of unforgiveness.

There was a time for silent prayer and and reflection, confession…

Sarah had made a digital meditation which we watched before we used the ashes she had brought.

Imposition of the Ashes
Pass to each the bowl of ashes and mark the person next to you with the sign of the cross saying:
“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
(The phrase recalls God’s words to Adam in Genesis 3:19 before the expulsion of Adam and Eve from
the Garden of Eden)
Hand washing
Lavabo – ritual of hand washing… although fallen out of practice this was and is a very important ritual
in Christian and other faiths.. we can see the practical benefits… in biblical times, people bought all
sorts of things for offerings, live animals, birds, foods, leaves. It made sense for the priests to wash
their hands.. it became symbolic for purification from sin..
In the Catholic and Anglican high churches priests wash their hands before communion and say
quietly “Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin”
This mystical meaning was emphasized by St. Cyril of Jerusalem in the fourth century,
when he wrote: ‘This action shows that we must be free from all sin. We perform actions
with our hands; to wash our hands is the nearest thing to purifying our deeds’”
Bowls – rosemary (symbol of fidelity and remembrance), Hyssop (for cleansing/purification),
chamomile (peace) – – warm water in a jug poured, hand towels
In turn slowly pour water over the hands of the person next you (hands over the bowl), take up a
towel and press around their hands. Let them dry off their hands.
Song : Marie Brennan – To the Wild Water
Blessing: Jesus said, a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved
..And the call is to community, the impoverished power that sets the soul free, in humility to take the
vow, that day after day we will love one another as you have loved us.

I can’t yet include the links here – sorry – but if nothing else, I hope you can see how very touching and poignant it was to bless one another in these ways. We talked a long time about things that had occurred to us in it all…