Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
This is a phrase sometimes used at the end of graveside services. It is a reminder that all of us share the same mortality. No matter how much exercise or dieting we do, no matter how good of shape we are in, no matter how good the quality of the genes we inherited, all of us will die.
Part of it comes from Genesis 3:19 where God spells it out for humanity: "You are dust, and to dust you shall return."
Well, I'm generally a positive person but I do see the value in taking a strong look at our mortality. It is actually helpful and allows us to grow and mature which is not always easy.
People will gather in churches on Wednesday for the imposition of ashes in the sign of the cross on their foreheads. It is an outward sign of our own mortality. Yet it is also a reminder of the mark of Christ on our lives: the promise of God to go with us into death and beyond.
For the upcoming Lenten season (the next six Sundays), I will be focusing on our being honest with God and with ourselves. There are many things that we would ignore or whitewash without really dealing with them. This Sunday, we'll look at the temptations of Jesus and see how they may stack up for us.
I hope that in the end, you will find that this journey is fruitful to you. Most of the time, when we put the work into it, the results are satisfying.
Photo taken by U.S. Navy photo, Chief Mass Communication Specialist Joe Kane [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons