The Consolations of Lent

Comfort sits, unexpected,
in our waiting with weakness.
No giant leaps needed, only
the baby steps of the heart
slowly learning contrition.

Begin with incapacity,
then the slow-dawning knowledge
that you are nothing but dust.
Dust transfigures at His breath.
Exhale in the sigh of your Lenten frailty.
Then inhale, inspire.

O brother in our humanity,
Elijah in the desert,
weeping Psalmist of the cross,
You comfort with the fast that says,
Take off your face. Take on mine.
Consolation begins where our pretence dies.

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Marc Chagall, “Jeremiah”

 

Eikon

No mirror to reflect,
no voice, only      dust,
sculpted by hands,
                             crafted by plan.
No self-stirring spirit,
no knowledge,     no thrust,
only dust, fingerprinted,
moulded –   with tears
and with blood    and with sweat –
now we stand,
                    heart and body,
earthenware image,
dust reflecting
      in praise.

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Diakonos

Gather dust.
Run, speedy feet,
                                    and kick up dust.
Kick up, gather: dust we are.
O dust, return.  Be turned.

Gather, sheep.
Be gathered, sheep;
                                    make ready feet.
Unglamorous and matted, poor:
gather all. All dusty sheep, return.

Gather us.
You gather dust,
                                    reviving us,
and send us out, in cloud of dust.
For dust we are;
           O dust, return,
in-gathered, glorious.

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