Today’s Word: ‘ASHES‘ as in… “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”
It’s fascinating to consider how many times these words will be spoken today. Around the world, millions of Christ followers will gather together in order to take the same first steps on a journey that each one will experience in vastly different ways as we begin the season of Lent.
The word “Lent” comes from an old English word for “lengthen,” and refers to the lengthening of the days of spring. We express gratitude for how the season of Lent gives us a few extra moments of light each day to consider what spring, new life, hope, and promise – what resurrection means for us and the way we live with one another in the world.
In the past six days I’ve officiated at two funerals. And each time I spoke these ancient words, they had a fresh meaning. “Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust” is a powerful reminder of our essence; of who we truly are, of our ancient connection to the Creator who created us once, and still continues to create us to be a blessing to others.
Something rather dynamic happened at noon today. When the cross was traced on my forehead and those ancient words were spoken once again, I actually felt the physical pressure of the pastor’s thumb against my forehead. As I felt that pressure against me, I had to think about my footing as I absorbed that cross on my forehead. And it reminded me of all of the things that push against me in my daily life: fear, misunderstanding, selfishness, brokenness, my ability to often make an utter mess of things.
And yet… “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; remember you are dust and to dust you shall return” was the message that intends to turn all of us toward Jesus who invites us to come along on a journey; a journey with him to the end of ourselves in order to reveal the beginning of who we’re becoming: recreated, living, breathing, resurrected people.