A Strange Thing Happened at Trinity Cathedral

A poem inspired by several independent experiences of Ash Wednesday at Trinity this year, shared with me over the course of the week:

As we prepped for Lent, we were all very clever,
We had last dinners out in spite of the weather.

We emptied our houses of sweets and libations,
Dashing to the grocery store for kale and healthful rations.

Wednesday dawned, and we traipsed to church in the rains,
Our challenging food-fasts at the top of our brains.

We knelt in our pews, and the Holy Spirit hovered:
we heard, “Not food—it’s your heart I want covered.”

Look inside—what is it that’s holding you back?
Is it worry that makes you think you’re in lack?

Or maybe it’s anxiety that eats you up;
or achievement that runs over your cup.

Whatever the vice that puts up a wall
between you and your Lord, between you and us all—

God wants to take it away;
so loosen your grasp,
ask him when you pray.

As we sojourn through a Holy Lent,
Remember it’s not garments that’re rent—

It’s our hearts which need loving, honest evaluation;
For God living in us, it’s the best preparation.

The Glory of These Forty Days

May we join our brothers and sisters throughout time and space in the holy journey of Lent, inspired, perhaps, by this poem composed by our great brother, Gregory:

The glory of these forty days
We celebrate with songs of praise;
For Christ, by Whom all things were made,
Himself has fasted and has prayed.

Alone and fasting Moses saw
The loving God Who gave the law;
And to Elijah, fasting, came
The steeds and chariots of flame.

So Daniel trained his mystic sight,
Delivered from the lions’ might;
And John, the Bridegroom’s friend, became
The herald of Messiah’s Name.

Then grant us, Lord, like them to be
Full oft in fast and prayer with Thee;
Our spirits strengthen with Thy grace,
And give us joy to see Thy face.

O Father, Son, and Spirit blest,
To thee be every prayer addressed,
Who art in threefold Name adored,
From age to age, the only Lord.

– Gregory the Great, 6th Century

Hymnal 1982, number 143; (http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/g/l/gloryt40.htm)