Our Common Life…

I’m writing to you just after first prayers on Ash Wednesday, looking forward to a day that will include some hours of work and also some spaces for prayer, for worship, and for the little rituals that mark the beginning of Lent here at Wayward Farm. 

Brown and purple candles have replaced the white and green ones on my table.  Later, I’ll plant a few pots of seeds.  On my way in from feeding the birds, I picked up a little clump of frozen dirt to keep in my prayer space this Lent. 

A few years ago at Ash Wednesday worship, my pastor at that time, Jay Keppel, offered us not the symbol of ashes but the symbol of dirt.  And with the dirt, these unexpected words:  “You are good dirt.”

 I am not constructed in a way that permits anything to fall from my head directly to the ground.  Cracker crumbs, stray pistachio pieces, ashes, dirt – all fall from my head and gather on the middle of me.  So, a beautiful clump of the fresh dirt I’d received from my pastor fell from my forehead and rested on my middle, sticky enough to stay stuck to the purple corduroy of my dress all through the worship service.

I followed that clump of fresh dirt into prayer.  Good buy propecia online australia dirt.  Good dirt.  I’m good dirt.  We’re good dirt.  What does good dirt do?

I invite you to take such wonderings with you into prayer these days and listen for the voice of God.  I’ll share with you just one of my “good dirt wonderings”. 

Dirt is a growing medium.  Long ago, the season of Lent was a season for restoring into the fellowship of the Church those who had been separated from the congregation.  Might it be possible in these weeks for our congregations to grow in our collective good dirt?  Might our congregations’ Lenten devotion include very, very purposeful actions to restore some ones in our communities who feel cut off from us and might use our good dirt to sprout a new start?  Might our congregations’ Lenten devotion include very, very purposeful actions to meet, to listen to, to serve some ones in our communities who can’t imagine themselves having anything to do with church?

I’m glad to continue some Lenten “good dirt wonderings” with you in this space!  What servant-hearted, grace-filled act are you imagining that might be good dirt for growing a new start for a child of God?  What listening, serving welcomes might sprout from the good dirt of your congregation’s members?

Jonna Jensen, Associate Conference Minister for Eastern Iowa

3 Responses to Our Common Life…

  1. Carla Derrick says:

    Just read your Ash Wednesday comments describing us Christians as “good dirt”……

    As a Master Gardener I am painfully aware, after this drought of a summer, that dirt is activated to do its miraculous work as a medium of growth by regular applications of another miraculous element — water. Metaphorical “wonderings” abound!

  2. Lindsey Braun says:

    Love this wondering about being “good dirt.” Preached a similar thought with the parable of the sower a few weeks ago, asking people to wonder what kind of God-breathed dirt they were and how they might prepare the soil of their own hearts for God to grow something new in them.

    Seemingly unrelated at the time, we made plans to take our Lenten evening prayer services on the road. On three separate Sundays, we will be worshiping at the three different nursing facilities where members who are not able to regularly worship with us live. Thank you for the reminder that this ties into an old tradition of re-membering a community during Lent! There is much good dirt here, and I think this particular Lenten practice will help our community stretch its roots even further.

  3. Jonna Jensen says:

    This Ash Wednesday, our new pastor, Stephanie Haskins, led us in a beautiful worship service that included both ashes and water, Carla. We placed our individual prayers of confession, written on small cards, in a fire pot. Then, Pastor Stephanie extinguished the flames with water from the baptismal font.

    I love the idea of taking Lenten worship “on the road”, Lindsey! I hope others see your idea here and take up this wonderful practice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *