Tuesday, February 12, 2013

An Ashen Cross of Our Own Making: 2013 Ash Wednesday Devotional

Ash Wednesday and First Week of Lent
A Lenten Devotional by Holly Hallman

So soon we come from angels singing about a new born babe to the dusty road leading the apostles down from the mountain and into Jerusalem.  We cannot go back and travel with them but we can take our own journey, marking our path with the five, carefully and prayerfully chosen issues for PEC advocacy.  There are so many things that could be added and we invite you to lay the ones that press on your hearts alongside our five.  Come. The road is better lit when we see others are carrying candles, too.  Take heart, in these weeks of Lent.  We follow a well-worn path toward an empty tomb!

An Ashen Cross of Our Own Making 

Ash took on new meaning for me when I learned that, although Washington State is shutting down its last coal mine, the local energy company still sources one-third of its power from coal mined in Montana and extraction is going to explode as coal is taken from those same plains where the buffalo roamed and the skies were not cloudy all day and sent by train to ports on the west coast for export to Asia.  Photos of the train terminal in Bellingham, Washington show a continuous cloud of soot hovering in the air around the depot.  Does God’s creation have a forehead?  Are we marking a cross upon that sacred brow?

The five areas for advocacy that PEC has chosen are; mountain top removal, fracking, Keystone XL Tar Sands, coal exports (by train), and divestment from oil companies.  The first four concern our creating energy that is putting an ashen cross on the forehead of us all.  If there is hope for slowing and then reversing this ashen cross it comes from a faithful walk with the man who spoke truth to the powers of his time, found twelve stout companions to travel with him, and fed 5,000 people with very little.

Ash Wednesday offers us an opportunity to assess our strengths, renew our faithful journey in the shadow of this Man and find gratitude for the fact that there are many more than twelve of us who walk together toward an ash-less future. May the ashes we wear on our foreheads call us to a Lenten time of simplicity.  May we enter, with the twelve, the confusion and sadness of that long ago journey to Jerusalem.

Holly Hallman is the Northwest Regional Representative for Presbyterians for Earth Care. She is a native of Colorado and lives in Seattle. She is often found where there are opportunities for salmon advocacy.

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