It’s Ash Wednesday 2015. Every year since coming to Clyman in 2001 I have administered the ashes on the people I am privileged to serve and given them the one message they probably don’t enjoy hearing. Dust you are…and to dust you shall return.
This year, of course, it will be different as the sting of death is felt in the salt of my own tears. Nothing levels all of us quite like the equalizing truth of death. Dust we are…and to dust we shall return.
So what shall we do? Wallow in the sadness and finality of it all? NO! On Ash Wednesday we face the bitter reality of death and gain the strength to live from the blessings of Christ’s sacrifice and death. When we face the reality of our death, the Good News of the forgiveness which brings eternal life is made that much sweeter. We do not beat our breasts aimlessly, mourn our dead without purpose, or face our future hopelessly. We are dying every day in order to live. Jesus came that we “might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
Today begins a 40-day journey that does not end at the cross. The journey, in truth, doesn’t have an ending. Today’s message of death begins the journey to the cry of resurrection. The victory is ours in Christ and that means that our journey doesn’t end at the grave either. Our lives in Christ don’t have an ending. We may return to dust, but only temporarily. When Christ returns, He will raise His people in the same way He created them, out of the dust by His word which stands forever.
A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said,[c] “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty[d] is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
The Lord Jesus Christ bless you and give you strength for the journey.
Sincerely in Christ,