After the Ashes

All we Baptists knew was that Lent
was some misspelling of  what you
pulled out of the dryer so your clothes
would get good and dry. But while we
may not have known the letter of liturgy
we possessed its spirit for about this time
every year we’d begin to stay late after
mid-week prayer meeting to rehearse
spring’s special – the Easter cantata.
That was our giving up, our fasting from
time spent on whatever it was we usually
did on Wednesday nights after church.
As Baptists we believed revelation comes
hard so we memorized songs and narration
as penance to tell our town of the wonder
working power in the blood of the lamb.
Finally our practice would be made almost
perfect as Easter broke and our robed voices
would bloom with the poetry of good news.
But truly, such joy came only after the ashes.

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  1. Beth Impson on February 18, 2015 at 1:24 pm


  2. jmanandmegzmom on February 18, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Beautifully written.

  3. beingmissmelanie on February 18, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    I love this. Have given up many a Wednesday night and can still sing some of those cantata songs. – former baptist turned Anglican

  4. Michele Morin on February 18, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    So thankful that you grew up Baptist. Your roots have yielded many a thoughtful poem.

  5. Maureen on February 21, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    This is lovely, the final line so striking. Blessings, John.

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