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A Prayer for Ash Wednesday

Road in Barmasia, Bihar, India.

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Precious Lord,

Our world is a wilderness of dust and ash. The flames of poverty consume. Deserts engulf forests and grasslands. Drought, famine and food shortages blow through an ever more hopeless world.

Yet amid the ashes and dust, we know that you are there. Your rod and staff comfort us in death’s valley. For forty days you fasted in the wilderness. As you faced death, you, too, felt the pain of thirst.

It is out of death that you conquered death. Out of hopelessness, you bring eternal hope. Out of dust, you breathe new life.

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On this day, Lord, drown us in the waters of your compassion. Fill us with the daily bread of your promise. Give us eyes to see our dusty neighbors and remind us of the dust from where we came, and the grace-filled dust where we will one day return. You are one who was, who is and who is to come, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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