To commemorate Ash Wednesday about 30 people from the D.C. faith-based peace and justice community gathered at the White house to hold a liturgy of repentance. The witness was organized by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. The witness included several songs, a reading of our leaflet (see below), a scripture passage, and a reading by Archbishop Oscar Romero regarding the meaning of Lent. Prayers were offered to remember the victims of the Amariyah shelter in Iraq, on this the 22nd anniversary of this U.S. war crime; to end the U.S. war in Afghanistan; to abolish nuclear weapons; to end the use of killer drones; and to remember all prisoners. A Litany of Repentance and Conversion was then read followed by a blessing and distribution of ashes. People also spread ashes on the street in repentance for the sins of the nation. The witness ended with a prayer and song. (see below the program for this Liturgy of Repentance).
As we gathered we were very mindful of friends and communities in many other places bearing witness to the Gospel of peace, including those acting at Hancock AFB in New York state to protest the killer drones.
When we arrived outside of the White House to begin this witness, there was another important protest, not known to us beforehand, taking place to call for the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline. During and after our witness 48 people were arrested.
(For more info see: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/02/13
). The reign of God is truly at hand! Let us pray for each other during this Holy Season as we seek to more deeply convert our lives to the Gospel and labor to make God’s reign of justice, peace and love a reality in our world.
See the below photos of the White House Liturgy of Repentance taken by Ted Majdosz firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to all who had roles in the Liturgy and to all who attended. And special thanks for everyone being so flexible in light of all that was happening outside the White House yesterday. Everyone dealt admirably with the motorcycle police (on hand for the Keystone protest) who literally drove through our arc of prayer. We hope our prayer might, in some small way, touch their hearts.
“The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk.1:15)
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Lent is a time for personal and societal repentance, a time for radical conversion, renewal and transformation. Living under the brutal occupation of the Roman empire, Jesus declared: “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk.1:15) Living in the U.S. empire, which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world,” we need to heed Jesus’ proclamation now more than ever.
On Ash Wednesday people from the faith-based peace and justice community in the D.C. area will hold a prayer service in front of the White House to call for repentance and conversion of ourselves, our society and our churches to the Gospel way of justice, nonviolence and a reverence for all life and creation. We call for an end to all war and the elimination of all weapons–from guns, to drones, to nuclear weapons. We call, too, for an end to corporate domination, justice for the poor and all immigrants, and for the conversion of our war-based economy to one centered on serving the common good, alleviating poverty and protecting the environment.
Ashes will be blessed and distributed. Please Join us.