Remember that you are dust
Each year, after the Christmas memories are made, and the Light that has come into the world has chased away the darkness, we gather on an otherwise nondescript Wednesday. And that day, as we go about like any other day, we are invited to stop and reflect on our own mortality.
It’s a strange ritual, the imposing of ashes upon our foreheads, forming a cross, smudged on our skin. And we are reminded of how fragile we are, how small we are, like a speck in the cosmos.
And when we do this, we are being invited in. To not only worship, but keep the coming season, it’s 40 days; to observe a holy Lent.
In the service for Ash Wednesday, a leader addresses the people and explains the history of Lent: that it was a time of preparation for membership and a time to prepare for the reconciliation of those who have done great harm. And so we are invited, “therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.”
And we remember that we are dust.
And to dust you shall return
Ash Wednesday serves as an invitation. An invitation into Lent, in a most general sense, but it is an invitation into deeper relationship. It invites us to examine ourselves and to deal with our division. It invites us to find ways to be intentional and ways to mark the time as GOD’s time. It invites us to read Scripture and to find Jesus in our world.
It invites us to notice how small we are and how imperfect we are. However, here, in this invitation, we see that we are not alone. There is no perfect. There is no forever. Not only are we from dust, but we will certainly return to the dust.
And that awareness connects us to GOD and to one another.
This year I’ll be inviting strangers to observe a holy Lent on the street outside the church. We call it “Ashes to Go”. Then I’ll join Sharon Smith from United Campus Ministries to invite the students at the volunteer fair in the University Commons. Public invitations to observe Lent as we do, with love and humility.
And I invite you to join me outside from 7:30-9:30 or inside the University Commons from 10-11:30 on February 10th to invite our neighbors, our friends to a season of opportunity and discovery.