“When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai rent his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, wailing with a loud and bitter cry” (Esther 4:1 RSV)

Tungia te ururua, kia tupu whakaritorito te tupu o te harakeke.
Burn away the overgrowth & let the flax shoots grow through.

The Meaning Of The Ash
Historically ash has been a symbol of repentance, confession, of death – because we all are returned to dust in the end, and this is the penalty of sinfulness.

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lent festival – 40 days leading to Easter (Sundays are not counted in the Lent calendar). Whilst there have been many orthodox traditions including fasting rules and reflection habits – the season is particular upheld within Christian streams as a method of reflection and focus. Historically a period of preparation leading up to baptism on Easter Sunday, the connection between this time of reflection, repentance, response, self-denial and the celebration of Easter cannot be over-emphasized.

For Lent this year, my choice of reflection is to study and reflect on psalms 1 – 40 for each of the 40 days. Any particular morsels.. I’ll share with you.

Closing Prayer
God of Tenderness and Mercy,
we are reminded today
that we are dust!
You are our Father,
full of mercy and love.
Forgive our sins.

Ko tou manawa, ko taku manawa.
Kia homai tou manawa mate moku.
Kia hoatu taku manawa ora mou.
Whiti ora! Maranga mai ki runga!

( Your heart, my heart.
You give me your dying heart.
Let me give you my living heart.
Cross over to life! Rise up above!)

Create in us a new heart
put a new spirit into our lives.
We ask this in the name,
of Your Servant and our brother,
now and always.