Today is Ash Wednesday. I will utter the following phrase a couple hundred times today… “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”
It is a somber reminder that death is a reality, not someday, but it is a reality we deal with daily. We all sin, we will all die, when it comes down to it we are dust.
I really love Ash Wednesday. I really do.
You might be thinking how can you “love” such a glum day, such a downer of a reminder. Yes, it causes me to pause, to even become introspective, and even sad as I will be smudging crosses on the foreheads of people, and have that ashen smudge applied to my own very ample forehead.
I will apply these reminders on the foreheads of kids, who haven’t a clue what death means, and on to the heads of other kids for who have seen too much death already. I will smudge the cross on the foreheads of men and women who have lost a husband or wife in this past year, I will smudge this cross on the foreheads of those for whom I may very well make the same sign over their coffin in the not too distant future. It may seem grim, but dust is not the end of this story…
I think we need remind ourselves of our dusty nature because we need to remember who we are, what we are and most importantly who’s we are. You see even as we remember we are dust to need to remember that God does some of his very best work with dust.
“— then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.” – Genesis 2:7
We are dust, but we are not just the dust that clings to our ceiling fans and on the back of the dresser. We have been formed by God, loved by God and the depths of that love and the life that it promises is what Ash Wednesday and Lent are all about.
Remember… remember you are dust… remember that to dust you shall return… remember what God can do with dust.
I am not the only one who loves this day, read this blog post by Nadia Bolz-Weber http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nadiabolzweber/ Pretty good stuff.