Ash Wednesday and Lent

Some stuff here – help yourselves 🙂

Lent sonnet

These forty days of prayer and discipline
are given for us to slowly grow in grace
and learn to be your people once again,
to find our truest home in your embrace.
In pilgrimage, through hours and days and weeks
of changing who we are and what we do,
the human heart may find that which it seeks:
ourselves, once restless, find their rest in you,
our mother hen, whose chicks at last come home
to find the safest place where they may cling;
we need not face the wilderness alone,
but nestle in shadow of your wing.
Oh, forty days of learning how to be
what you have promised us eternally.

Ash Wednesday hymn (tune: Picardy) – slightly revised

Dust to dust, we mark our repentance,
entering a guilty plea,
Ash to ash, we face our sentence,
Sin writ large for all to see:
Now these signs of all our falls from grace,
mark us for divine embrace.

Dust of earth once shaped and moulded
into this, our human frame,
Body, mind and soul enfolded,
given life and called by name.
Now O Lord remake our damaged form,
Hold us till our hearts grow warm.

Dust that fuels the lights of heaven,
Stars and planets passing by,
Atoms of creation’s splendour,
Earth to earth and sky to sky,
Now our dust, redeemed, sings loud and long
in that universal song.

Lent hymn / song (tune: slane)
the ten commandments verse can be omitted if that’s not your focus

Lord of our life, our beginning and end,
Our Father, our shepherd, our Saviour and friend,
We look to your teaching in each fresh new day
To lead us and guide us and show us your way.

Ten laws to teach us to live in your love,
Ten ways to make earth more like heaven above,
Ten rules to inspire all we think, say and do,
To help us be faithful in following you.

You are our safety, our great mother hen,
Whenever we wander you call us again,
We’ll always be drawn to your loving embrace
To nestle beneath the soft wings of your grace.

This is our story, and this is our song:
For we are your people, to you we belong,
Wherever life takes us, in all that we do,
Our hearts will find peace when we’re resting in you.

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4 comments

  1. Thank you for the hymns for Ash Wednesday and Lent: I just happen (as a “retread” easing the Vicar’s load) to be presiding and preaching on Ash Wednesday and the “Ash” hymn looks to be what I hope for as we begin Lent. On another topic: I’ve been asked to baptise a pair of siblings and I have doubts – perhaps Thanksgiving for the gift of a child would be what the couple really need, and I shan’t find out until I see them at the weekend. I’ve found some good baptism hymns (you wrote some of them). Most of them, rightly, assume faith, however germinal. Could we consider a hymn that says, “I’m not too sure about the Gospel but I’m really chuffed to have the baby. The welcome I’m getting from the Church is taking my hesitation graciously and seriously, and saying thanks to God is OK for now, but don’t push me.” I’d like to try writing one myself but at present, I’m stumped.

    • That’s an interesting idea for a hymn – definitely something to consider. Mine are quite ‘light on faith, focusing more on God’s love for us than our commitment, but a hymn that really embraces people’s tentative first steps in the way you suggest is an interesting one. Thank you.

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