Improv on 1 Corinthians 13 for Ash Wednesday on Valentine’s Day

This is beautiful!

When I was a child, I said “I love you.”
I cut out pink and red hearts,
and gave them to everyone, even the bullies,
but when I became an adult,
I decided to make it more complicated.

Gifts in Open Hands

If I speak in tongues of justice or spirituality,
but do not have ashes,
I am a self-congratulating vigil,
a Sunday service inspired by itself.
If I have social media outreach,
a labyrinth in the church garden,
Bible study in the brew-pub,
and, if I have a capital campaign
to remove pews, put in church chairs,
and even add a coffee shop,
but do not have ashes, I am nothing.
If I give to church-wide offerings,
and go on mission trips so that I may boast,
but do not have ashes, I gain nothing.

Ashes are awkward; ashes are dirty;
ashes, like love,
are not envious, boastful, arrogant or rude.
Ashes do not insist on a perfect Lent;
they do not even need to be in church
or a gimmick to get folks to church;
they do not inventory wrongdoing,
especially the wrongdoing of others,

but rejoice in the precious…

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