Ash Wednesday Prayer: Small-Minded

At your command all things came to be: the vast expanse of
interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses,
and this fragile earth, our island home.
By your will they were created and have their being.

From the primal elements you brought forth the human race,
and blessed us with memory, reason, and skill. You made us
the rulers of creation. But we turned against you, and betrayed
your trust; and we turned against one another.
Have mercy, Lord, for we are sinners in your sight.
--from Eucharistic Prayer C
BCP p. 370
Considering my own smallness heightens my sense of magnificence. Being a speck in a dazzling universe puffs me up much more than being a Big Fish in any particular pond. Contemplating my brief life, and what will become of my body at the end of it should be an exercise in humility, but instead it's a moment of wonder. When the ocean disappears into the horizon, when the stars speckle the night sky, I feel very small-- and I feel steeped in something immense. It's powerful to behold that sort of magnitude, and while I'm tiny and limited, just the act of recognizing some of the grandeur of our universe makes my soul expand to reflect it.

Today, as we remember that we came from dust and return to it, I'm not feeling expendable. I'm feeling like an intrinsic part of an astonishing world.

How about you? Where in the universe are you today?


  1. I'm not in a great place. Would appreciate your prayers for me as I sit still with uncomfortable feelings, and let the other person feel and deal with theirs (rather than trying to "fix it fix it").
    thanks and love. You're in my prayers today.

  2. You've got it, MB. It takes an awful lot of courage to be uncomfortable. I'll be holding you in prayer, and loving you with God this week.
    And thank you!

  3. This is exactly how I feel. I am so thankful that you expressed it so eloquently for all of us who are content to be so insignificantly tiny...yet thankful and full of wonder that Our Creator still loves us enough to count every hair on our heads. This dichotomy never ceases to amaze me.

  4. Thank you for using Rite C! I know there are lots of liturgists who have a problem with the technical aspects of C and who dislike the "Star Trek" aspects of it...but I love it.

    It reminds me of my wonderful church-childhood, a feeling I think can be summed up as being okay with being small, okay with being a blended voice in a heavenly choir.

  5. Love your interpretation of Ash Wednesday. I also find being reminded that "you are dust, and to dust you shall return" is empowering, not debasing. It is the ultimate leveler -- we are all dust, we are all human, we are all connected.

  6. "But we turned against you, and betrayed
    your trust" those are some of the most powerful words I say each week, I know it because it aches my soul to say them.

  7. Stratoz-- yes. Those are a lump-in-my-throat part of the liturgy.


"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins