Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lent 2014: Ash Wednesday - We are Dust

Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Season of Lent, a season of reflection, abstinence and penitence. It is a recognition that each of us is a humble sinner, who requires the love and sacrifice of God to be redeemed. It is a season that prepares us for the celebration of Christ's sacrifice and resurrection on Easter morn.

We are dust...and to dust we shall return.

In 2002, when I received my ashes at St. Paul's Church in Lower Manhattan...the very air was filled with dust...dust of the dead...dust of renewal. It was particularly poignant to walk down dusty Broadway, to hear the non-stop roar of the operations at Ground Zero...and then to step into the hush of the Sanctuary. The minister intoned, "Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return," as he brushed the sign of the cross on my forehead...it carried new layers of meaning as I stood there in my dust covered shoes, missing my younger brother, who had indeed returned to dust on that terrible day.

But "to dust we shall return" is not a threat...no! It is a promise...because this body and this earth? They are not my true home...they are not where I am meant to spend eternity.

We are dust...and to dust we shall return.

This is the beginning of Lent...a solemn time, yes...but with the JOY of Easter just ahead of us!