Ash Wednesday Meditation — Jim Burklo

On my forehead,
A sign of the cross,
Smudged in ash from the fire
That burned down the McMansion of my hubris,
And, with it,
The money I should have given away,
The screens I stare at to numb my senses,
The carpet I should have been called on,
The doors I should have opened to others,
The envelopes I should have used
To send letters of love,
The wise books I shelved prominently
So that others would think I had read them,
The blank places in my photo albums
Where my darker moments should have been remembered,
The calendars where visits with the people who needed me most
Should have been scheduled,
The couch of my complacency,
The lounge-chair of my laziness,
The shirts I stuffed with my pride,
The moccasins I should have traded with others
So we could have walked miles in them.
On my forehead,
A sign of the crossroad
Where I can turn from the way of ruin
To the way of life.

Use freely with attribution.

Jim Burklo, Senior Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California, writes progressive prayers, hymns and other worship items.  Many of his liturgical materials can be found in his book “Birdlike and Barnless:  Meditations, Prayers, and Songs for Progressive Christians”  (2008, St Johann Press).  This meditation is from Jim’s own Book of Common Prayer.  Explore his blog for more words for worship.

Misty morning, photo by Fiona Crowther, UK