Ash, Year A

Musical Reflection
Knocking on Heaven’s Door by Eric Clapton

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Invocation

Mystery of Goodness,
by whose gaze
we are called into being and held in life:
teach us
the secrecy of prayer
which seeks no reward;
the generosity of love
which forgets itself;
the gift of a treasure
uncountable and unconsumed;
through Jesus Christ, the Child of the Wilderness.
Amen.
First Reading

Someone
by Dennis O’Driscoll

someone is dressing up for death today, a change of skirt or tie
eating a final feast of buttered sliced pan, tea
scarcely having noticed the erection that was his last
shaving his face to marble for the icy laying out
spraying with deodorant her coarse armpit grass
someone today is leaving home on business
saluting, terminally, the neighbours who will join in the cortege
someone is paring his nails for the last time, a precious moment
someone’s waist will not be marked with elastic in the future
someone is putting out milkbottles for a day that will not come
someone’s fresh breath is about to be taken clean away
someone is writing a cheque that will be rejected as ‘drawer deceased’
someone is circling posthumous dates on a calendar
someone is listening to an irrelevant weather forecast
someone is making rash promises to friends
someone’s coffin is being sanded, laminated, shined
who feels this morning quite as well as ever
someone if asked would find nothing remarkable in today’s date
perfume and goodbyes her final will and testament
someone today is seeing the world for the last time
as innocently as he had seen it first

Second Reading
“Death does not come from the outside…”
by Jaan Kaplinski
translated by Hindi Hawkins

Death does not come from outside. Death is within.
Born-grows together with us.
Goes with us to Kindergarten and school.
Learns with us to read and count.
Goes sledging with us, and to the pictures.
Seeks with us the meaning of life.
Tries to make sense with us of Einstein and Wiener
Makes with us our first sexual contacts.
Marries, bears children, quarrels, makes up.
Separates, or perhaps not, with us.
Goes to work, goes to the doctor, goes camping,
to the convalescent home and the sanatorium. Grows old,
sees children married, retired,
looks after grandchildren, grows ill, dies
with us. Let us not fear, then. Our death
will not outlive us.

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Gospel Reading
Matthew 6:1-21

“Be careful that you don’t practice your religion in front of people to draw their attention. If you do, you will have no reward from your Abba God who is in heaven.

“Whenever you give to the poor, don’t blow your trumpet as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they may get praise from people. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that you may give to the poor in secret. Your Abba God who sees what you do in secret will reward you.

“When you pray, don’t be like hypocrites. They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners so that people will see them. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. But when you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to God who is present in that secret place. Your God who sees what you do in secret will reward you.

“When you pray, don’t pour out a flood of empty words, as the Gentiles do. They think that by saying many words they’ll be heard. Don’t be like them, because your God knows what you need before you ask. Pray like this:

Abba God in heaven,
uphold the holiness of your name.
May your reign come;
so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven.
Give us the bread we need for today.
Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you,
just as we also forgive those who have wronged us.
And don’t lead us into temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.

“If you forgive others their sins, Abba God will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, neither will Abba God forgive you.

“And when you fast, don’t put on a sad face like the hypocrites. They distort their faces so people will know they are fasting. I assure you that they have their reward. When you fast, brush your hair and wash your face. Then you won’t look like you are fasting to people, but only to your Abba God who is present in that secret place. Abba God, who sees in secret, will reward you.

“Stop collecting treasures for your own benefit on earth, where moth and rust eat them and where thieves break in and steal them. Instead, collect treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moth and rust don’t eat them and where thieves don’t break in and steal them. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


Musical Reflection

Do You Realize by The Flaming Lips

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 Prayer 

by Christine Sine, adapted

God, we are marked with ashes,
Symbols of repentant hearts,
And contrite spirits.
We want to be transformed,
To be made new,
To learn the freedom
Of serving you.
Let us heed the call,
And walk with Christ,
Into the wilderness.
Help us to see beneath the surface,
Not denial and sacrifice,
Not sin and death,
But transformation,
Life with Christ.
Let us seek to become worthy citizens
Of a world of peace and justice.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

O presence and pow’r within us,
Being and Life of all.
How we are filled, how we o’erflow
with infinite love and gladness!
We shall this day sow grace and peace,
and show mercy to all,
and gentle loving-kindness.
And we shall be not so self-serving,
but a constant source of giving.
For ours is the essence,
and the wholeness,
and the fullness forever.

 

Musical Reflection
Videotape by Radiohead

Brigid’s Blessing

God bless our food;
God bless our drink.
And keep our homes
and ourselves
in Your embrace,
O God.

And may the blessing of God – God above us, God beside us, and God beneath us,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

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Sources:

Artwork by Keith Haring

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Knocking on Heaven’s Door by Eric Clapton

Poem Someone by Dennis O’Driscoll

Poem “Death does not come from the outside…” by Jaan Kaplinski

Musical Reflection Do You Realize by The Flaming Lips

Prayer by Christine Sine

Lord’s Prayer by Paul Alan Laughlin

Musical Reflection Videotape by Radiohead

Blessing from Celtic Daily Prayer, adapted

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