Our depths may be times of great despair or times we feel overwhelmed, busy, or “in over our heads.” We may find ourselves in the depths when we feel lost, alone, or abandoned. We can be pummeled to the depths when we look at our lives and our world and feel like everything is in chaos and conflict, spiraling out of control. When we are in the depths and flattened by the weight of it all, we don’t always know how to respond. During these times, we might use a variety of means to try and escape the vulnerable experience of being human and mortal. But the truth remains: we are human. We are dust, and to dust we shall return.
In her poem, “Blessing the Dust,” Jan Richardson writes: “…did you not know / what the Holy One / can do with dust?” (12-14). As we are marked with ashes at the beginning of our Lenten journey, she urges us to not be marked for sorrow, shame, false humility or powerlessness. Instead, she urges us to be marked “for claiming / what God can do / within the dust, / within the dirt, / within the stuff / of which the world / is made / and the stars that blaze / in our bones / and the galaxies that spiral / inside the smudge / we bear” (38-49).
When we find ourselves in the “depths,” it can be hard to have hope. It can be difficult to trust that God creates beauty out of the ashes, but like the psalmist, may we turn to Something Greater and cry for hope. Our journey from Lent to Easter reminds us that out of the depths, out of the ashes, we see new life.
I wait for you, O God; my soul waits; in your word is my hope.
Our Lenten Liturgies
On Sunday mornings, we confess our humanness in the words of Martin Luther’s hymn, “Out of the Depths I Cry to You.” The liturgical music comes from “Setting Ten” in our hymnal Evangelical Lutheran Worship).
Following our meal on Wednesday evenings, we will dwell in the psalms of the season and sing Marty Haugen’s Holden Evening Prayer.
Michael Larson, Worship, Arts & Service Director