Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten Season. In the early church, it was a time when those wanting to know more about the new life would go into a period of discernment, fasting, and prayer until Easter, when they were baptised. Today, in many churches all over the world, people will kneel as a sign of the cross is made on their foreheads and they are reminded that “For dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). This is what God reminded Adam of after he sinned.
Do you think of yourself as dust and ashes? Probably not. What it means is that we are not eternal beings. We live, and we will die. Eventually our bodies will disintegrate into the earth. Sort of depressing, right?
But there is good news... News the world needs to hear. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we can have “new life” — a life that doesn't begin when we die. It begins now, when we die to our selfish ways and are born again to embrace Christ living inside of us.
Today, people will kneel and be reminded of who they once were, and then get up, dust themselves off, and go out into the world to proclaim the Good News of who they now are, and of how others can be like them. Loved. Saved. Blessed.
Between now and Easter, which is six weeks away, who will you tell that though they are but dust, they don’t have to stay that way?
Precious Lord, without you we are nothing. We are ashes and dust. But you bring us eternal life. You loved us enough to die for us so that we can live. This Lent, let that idea really soak into my heart, mind, and soul so that come Easter I can rejoice in your resurrection like never before. Amen.
Go Deeper — Grab some dirt or ashes in your hand and let it sift through your fingers. Then pray the prayer above and thank God this life is not all there is. Ask God to bring to mind the name of one person you can invite into the new life Christ offers.
Photo Credit: Adi Constantin