A meditation from Pastor Dave Collins
“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
On most Ash Wednesdays, those words are meant to wake us up from our stupors and remind us that we better get on with the important stuff of life and faith and following Jesus, because we might not get the chance tomorrow. On most Ash Wednesdays, most of us aren’t thinking too much about how we are absolutely going to die some day, and it’s a sobering reminder as we start Lent.
But not so much this year. This year, we are all too aware of just how fleeting life is. We’re not holding Ash Wednesday services because of we don’t want to accidentally cause someone’s death while reminding them that it’s coming.
No ashes this year. We don’t need them to remind us of how fragile life is. We have masks instead. And this year, we don’t need to be reminded of our mortality. We have the news for that.
In fact, this year, maybe we don’t need ash at all. After all, when we impose ashes, we don’t say the word “ash”. We say, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
So this year, let’s use dust. Get it off the top of your fan blade. Or get some dirt from outside.
Because this year, we don’t need to be reminded of how fragile life is. We know that. And besides, that’s not the only thing that dust symbolizes. We say, “Remember that you are dust” because in creation story of Genesis 2, God made us from dust. God made a person from dirt, and then God breathed his life into us. We are alive to begin with because the breath of God enlivens us.
God decided to breath on dust. God chose to bring dust to life. And this dust that we get to walk around in how we get to know God at all! It’s how we experience pain and pleasure. It’s how we see other dust people as fellow travelers, brothers and sisters. This is how God gets to us.
And it gets even better than that, too. Because this whole dust thing isn’t just some test, some temporary purgatory. God took on this dust himself. Jesus Christ is the eternal Word made flesh. God chose dust for himself, not just for us.
God loves dust no matter what kind of shape it’s in.
It’s not a curse to be dust. It’s a blessing.