“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Most churches around the world will be repeating this phrase tonight as they participate in an Ash Wednesday service. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the season of Lent…but what is it all about?
I’d like to highlight three things: dependency, shared humanity and preparation.
The writer of Ecclesiastes writes “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.” (Ecclesiastes 3:20) You may be wondering why the church focuses on the themes of dust and ashes. The reason is that the biblical authors believe that all of humanity was created from the dust and will one day return to dust.
We did not create ourselves. Nor do we decide when our time on this earth is over.
The entirety of our life is dependent on God.
Many of us avoid thinking about our own mortality at all costs. After all, it is a fairly depressing topic to consider. You won’t get invited to many dinner parties if all you talk about is your mortality.
The church believes that one day a year should be set aside to remember that we are completely dependent on God.
Every breath we take is a gift from God.
And when we breath our last breathe, we will return to God.
Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
- Shared Humanity
Mortality is something that all people (all 7 billion of us) have in common. We are not alone on this journey.
May this understanding lead you to a deep sense of empathy for the rest of our fellow travelers on this adventure of life.
We breath the same air. We share the same planet. We were created by the same God. We are in this together.
The season of Lent begins with dust and ashes…but it does not end there. Instead, the season marches forward for 40 days until it reaches its pinnacle in Easter.
Lent begins with death and a shared mortality.
Lent ends with resurrection and the promise of new life.
I hope you’ll join us on Sundays throughout the season of Lent as we travel through this period of preparation.
We will begin a brand new series on Sunday titled 40 Days Of Promise. It will follow Abraham’s story and the promises that God made to his family (and us!).
I also invite you to join us for a pancake dinner tonight at 6 pm in the Fellowship Hall. This will be followed by our Ash Wednesday service at 7 pm in the sanctuary. The imposition of ashes will be offered.
See you tonight, and on Sunday!