A Liturgy for Ash Wednesday

Here’s a liturgy for the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday.  It was written by Bill Loader.

A Liturgy for Ash Wednesday

A mangled body on a cross
stands for all mangled bodies,
victims of torture and violence,
wizened and misshapen bodies of malnutrition and poverty.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

The burning which generates the ashes
reflects the misdirected passions of abuse
and the searing apathy
which renders hope barren
and suppresses change.

Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing 
To take the sign of the cross
means to allow oneself to be stretched out wide
in solidarity with the Christ
and in compassion for all,
even at cost,
and to believe against defeat and despair
that hope can rise and life begin again.

Father, into your hands I commend my spirit

Receive the sign of the cross.
(done according to local custom,
making the sign of the cross on the forehead)

— prepared by William Loader, 22 February 2004.  Posted on Bill Loader’s Home Page. http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~loader/ashlit.htm