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Rend Your Heart: A Blessing for Ash Wednesday – By Jan L. Richardson

February 21, 2012

Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
rend your hearts and not your clothing.

(Joel 2.12-13a)

To receive this blessing,
all you have to do
is let your heart break.
Let it crack open.
Let it fall apart
so that you can see
its secret chambers,
the hidden spaces
where you have hesitated
to go.

Your entire life
is here, inscribed whole
upon your heart’s walls:
every path taken
or left behind,
every face you turned toward
or turned away,
every word spoken in love
or in rage,
every line of your life
you would prefer to leave
in shadow,
every story that shimmers
with treasures known
and those you have yet
to find.

It could take you days
to wander these rooms.
Forty, at least.

And so let this be
a season for wandering
for trusting the breaking
for tracing the tear
that will return you

to the One who waits
who watches
who works within
the rending
to make your heart


The above words are by the Reverend Jan L. Richardson, from her blog On this blog, the Reverend Richardson says the following: 

I am a writer, artist, United Methodist minister, and director of a company called The Wellspring Studio, LLC, which serves as an umbrella for all the writer/artist/minister stuff plus a few other things besides. My favorite projects are those that intertwine words and images. One of my loves is my small press, Wanton Gospeller Press, through which I design and hand-bind books that incorporate my art and writing. When folks ask me where The Wellspring Studio is, I say, wherever I am, there it is… You can pay a virtual visit to the studio at; I would love for you to stop by.

I live in central Floridawith my husband, the singer/songwriter Garrison Doles, and travel widely as a retreat/workshop leader and conference speaker. I serve as the Visiting Artist at First United Methodist Church of Winter Park, Florida, and am on the faculty of the Grünewald Guild inWashingtonState.

The Painted Prayerbook is a blog that explores the intersections of writing, art, and faith, and a few other things besides. For more info, please visit About The Painted Prayerbook.


Embedded below are two videos of “Hosea,” sung by Maureen Hegarty and the composer, Gregory Norbet, respectively. This is one of the songs we’ll be singing at our 9:15 a.m. Ash Wednesday Holy Eucharist tomorrow.

From → All Posts, Music, Quotes

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