Ash Wednesday

Speak o’er me those desired and dreaded words:
Pronounce my death while I yet live and breathe.
Adorn me with the burnt kiss of our Lord,
Preparing me for glory—and for grief.

Say to me what I most long and fear to hear!
Announce my life to be of little worth
Even as you declare that I am dear
To the Maker who ordained and shared my birth.

Recite the scalding truth that heals and hurts;
Heap cleansing coals upon me as I bow.
Yet imitate the One Who draws in dirt
By stamping His sweet sign upon my brow.

Please, oh please! My rent heart cries, “You must!”
Christen me with this blessing: “You are dust.”

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