The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster
God, meet us in the dust,
in the mud,
in the dirt,
in the blessing of this night.
For here tonight we remember again
that in the fragility and beauty of this,
you have formed us from the ordinary
and blessed it and called it sacred.
We belong to you.
We feel your blessing on our forehead,
the anointing of love,
the inscribing with ash the the tenderness
of your promises to us.
As we trace the contours of our own lives,
we notice the ways in which you
have been our refuge,
even as we await the storm to pass us by.
Be with us in the storms of this day:
the worries of war,
the realities of international conflict,
the trouble as people flee their homes
or take up arms undesired,
a world filled with violence, injustice,
chaos, and impossible possibilities.
Be safety for the frightened.
Be balm for the wounded.
Be sight for those who feel invisible.
Be protection for those seeking
safe harbor by day and safe haven by night.
In you, may my soul take refuge.
In you, may the lost find direction.
In you, may the hungry find food.
In you, may the bullied find courage.
In you may the worried find peace.
Be for us the gentle wind of holy change,
your breath within my breath,
inspiration, imagination, and strength.
Stay with us dawn to dusk and on to dawn again.
For you search us and you know us.
You move us beyond taking our lives for granted.
You root us in the reality that each day,
each moment is a gift,
a chance to start again,
an opportunity to know that we are treasured,
that we belong to you,
and live in your love.
May the mud beneath our feet be
a reminder of tonight’s blessing.
May the ash on our forehead bind us
to your anointing spirit
that goes with us from today
into a thousand tomorrows.
May you journey with us through the mud,
and guide us through the night,
a peace that passes understanding,
a deep embodied sigh beyond words.
Bless us, O God, into this night. Amen.