Ash Wednesday

The passion flower in the Australian bush

needs fire to cleanse and bring about new birth,

so too this oil and ash upon your brow

takes you to death, you creature of the earth;

reminding you of your sure mortal end 

so in death’s embers you will not remain  

but Son-kissed by the greeting of a friend

you will arise – a phoenix from the flame. 

*

Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return

these words are life although they sound like death.

As the potter takes the clay and shapes its form

so you are recreated by God’s breath.

So shrive and die again into this soil

and grace will germinate through ash and oil. 

*

(c) Susannah Underwood 2021

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