Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent, in which people of faith set aside time to fast and reflect upon the state of ourselves. It's a time of humility, and of facing the truth that we are imperfect and fall short and need the grace of God to meet us, not shying away from what we must deal with before we can grow. Many of us smear ashes on our heads on this day, as a symbol of our humility and contrition. This litany references several of the day's Lectionary passages.
Oh God, our wrongdoing is ever before us
Our complicity in systems of injustice
Our tendency to validate falsehoods
Our sloth about love
Our willingness to be constantly entertained and never quiet
Our egos, violence, and idolatry.
These things only begin to describe our transgressions.
We are none of us immune to them. (1)
We have done harm
And left good undone.
We devote ourselves in this season
To cleaning up our messes;(2)
Both inward, of our deepest hearts;
And outward, of our societies and relationships.
Show us our own selves,
That we may become transformed
And by repentance and contrition
Re-make the world with you. (3)
We are deep in need of grace.
Have mercy on us, oh God. (4)
(2) Psalm 51:10
(3) Isaiah 58:6-8
(4) Psalm 51:1