Wednesday, February 9

We Are Dust????!!

Once I sat in church in front of a little boy who was reading along with the congregation as we read those words. He stopped reading immediately, turned to his mom and said loudly with disgust, "Huh? We are dust???!!!"

Yes, it's a shocking truth isn't it? Our lives are like vapors, here today and gone tomorrow. The temporal nature of this life and of this world is something we'd rather not think about. But of course, sooner or later, we're forced to face it, and we're better for it. When the surgeon who found the cancer all through my husband's abdomen came in after the surgery to discuss things with him, he described his situation like this: "You have mortal written across your forehead a little larger than the rest of us." Those words were a gift. They didn't take away hope, but they expressed the right sense of urgency.

Ash Wednesday gives us the same sort of gift. It's a day to think about the word mortal that we all have written across our foreheads, to consider the brevity of our earthly lives, and the need to make our days count by focusing on things of eternal value. And it's a day to look forward to the Resurrection of Easter, the day that gives us hope of immortality, for Christ's resurrection brings immortality to those united with him.
For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; then when Christ comes, those who belong to him. (1 Corinthians 15:22-23 NET)
Reading all of 1 Corinthians 15 is the perfect way to reflect on the hope Ash Wednesday is directing us toward.

[Update: Mark D. Roberts writes of Ash Wednesday and mortality, too.]
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