Ash: a poem for Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the season of preparation for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter. To mark the occasion, URC minister, the Revd Lucy Berry, offers the following reflection and poem.

Ash Wednesday is the day when we glimpse our part in the destruction of Jesus. If we are brave, we stay with that truth, rather than jumping to resurrection for comfort too soon. Christ is moving now along a path where, depending on our mood, our health, our history, we may worship him or betray him. It is the start of a time when nothing grows except the notion of our two truths: the “human condition” in its frailty and mortality and “humanity” in its connecting love. Are there choices to be made? How?


“Lord, all the plans I tried are burned to ash
and all the sighs I sighed are burned to ash
and all the tears I cried are burned to ash
and all the lies I lied are burned to ash;
the finished bon-fires of my old disgrace.
And then you dig them over in your soil
and overturn my will for forty days
and some new page turns over in my heart
and all my sin turns over in my mind
and all my dug-in demons overturn
and you dig over all my sad, old soil
while forty ash-dry days and nights go by
until I have a new earth to begin. Amen”

© Lucy Berry

You can read more of Lucy’s poetry here:

Walking together towards Easter – Lent resources from the United Reformed Church

Image: Grzegorz Krupa/Pixabay