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.
The potter takes the clay and shapes its form
and 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