Ash Wednesday Meditation
On my forehead,
A sign of the cross,
Smudged in ash from the fire
That burned down the McMansion of my hubris,
And, with it,
The money I should have given away,
The screens I stare at to numb my senses,
The carpet I should have been called on,
The doors I should have opened to others,
The envelopes I should have used
To send letters of love,
The wise books I shelved prominently
So that others would think I had read them,
The blank places in my photo album.
Where my darker moments should have been remembered,
The calendars where visits with the people who needed me most
Should have been scheduled,
The couch of my complacency,
The lounge-chair of my laziness,
The shirts I stuffed with my pride,
The moccasins I should have traded with others
So we could have walked miles in them.
On my forehead,
A sign of the crossroad
Where I can turn from the way of ruin
To the way of life.
Feast and Fast – for Lent
from my book: BIRDLIKE AND BARNLESS
Let us feast on simple pleasures, and fast from all that gets our bodies and souls out of balance.
Let us feast on kindness, and fast from sarcasm.
Let us feast on compassion, and fast from holding grudges.
Let us feast on patience, and fast from anxiety.
Let us feast on peace, and fast from stirring up needless conflict.
Let us feast on acceptance, and fast from judgment.
Let us feast on joy, and fast from jealousy.
Let us feast on faith, and fast from fear.
Let us feast on creativity, and fast from all that deadens our souls.
Let us feast on social justice, and let us fast from negligence of the most vulnerable.
Let us feast on service to others, and fast from selfishness.
Let us feast on delight, and fast from despair.
Let us feast on bread and wine in spiritual communion, and fast from all that keeps us from communing deeply with each other and with God.
So that our lives might be sufficient, fulfilled, complete, whole, enough.
Rev. Jim Burklo is the Senior Associate Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life at the University of Southern California. An ordained United Church of Christ minister, he formerly served as a community organizer, director of a homeless services agency, church pastor, and campus minister. He is a member of the board of directors of ProgressiveChristiansUniting.org and an honorary advisor for ProgressiveChristianity.org. Jim is the author of seven published books on progressive Christianity, including TENDERLY CALLING: An Invitation to the Way of Jesus, which will be in print in early 2021. His weekly blog, “musings”, has a global readership.