Tag Archives: Ash Wednesday

It’s our anniversary!

See the source imageI didn’t forget.  Though I don’t have flowers or dinner reservations, I wanted to wish us a happy eighth anniversary.  I have been writing, thinking, talking about the socio- political construct of race, the malformation of Christian community and the call to be reconciled in a world that thrives on division for 2,920 days.  It has not been easy to keep faith in the ministry of reconciliation but Christ’s bloody hands reaching out to us hold it all together.

Now I write as a matter of resistance to the old way, to the prejudicial, stereotypical way of being.  I write to die daily to race (First Corinthians 15.31).  I write to remind us that it is a daily confession, this denial of the flesh and its people- given, people- driven powers.  The raceless gospel is reminder that the power of Christianity does not lie in what our flesh can do but in what Christ did with his.

I began this blog on Ash Wednesday eight years ago.  It is a fitting reminder for the socio- political construct of race, the power we give it and the weight we throw around it.  Because in the end, we must, “Remember that you are dust and that to dust you shall return.”  The flesh is not worth much and it not what Jesus died for any way.  These flesh fights are all our doing and of our own making.  So today, thank you for choosing another way, to walk away from the temporal and fleeting powers of epidermis in order to pursue more closely the holy trail that Jesus is on.

I am so proud of the work that we have done together and look forward to many more years with you.  I am deeply grateful for your support, to have you as travel companions and conversation partners.  I pray for many more years and even more words to share with you.  Happy anniversary!

Return

See the source image

Return

“…You are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.”
| Genesis 3.19, NRSV

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season, the forty- day period where believers fall in step with Christ’s journey to the cross.  It is an exodus from excess.  We strip bare our lives from distractions that would take our attention away from him.  We are intentional to fix our eyes on him.  It is important that we remember this story, that we see this sacrifice, that we not lose sight of him.  We want nothing to stand in the way of this vision.

His kingdom is coming.

We return to a rhythm: death, burial and resurrection.  Yes, this is the circle of life.  We will all come back to him.   It all comes back to him. Grave robbed.  Death cheated.  Sin defeated.  Wait and see.  He will take the sting out of death.  He will return for us.

We are coming closer and so is he (James 4.8).  One foot in front of the other, we will bump into other pilgrims.  The Way gets crowded around this time.  It’s hard to ignore the signs.  We return to attention and we aim to step on his heels as the passion approaches.  We cannot believe that he saw this coming and did not step away.

Ash Wednesday is a call to remember our roots and to dig deep.  Jesus, a shoot from the root of Jesse and the True Vine, we have connections (Isaiah 11.1; John 15.1).  Still, we are dust.

No matter what is added to our name, we will return to dust.
No matter what we add to our resumes or our residence, we will return to dust.
No matter how high we climb up social ladders, we will return to dust.
No matter where we travel or what we gain, our bodies will return to dust.

Mark this day with humility.  The earth is under our feet… for now.

Remember that you are dust

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“By the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it your were taken; you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

{Genesis 3.19, NRSV}

Perhaps, Ash Wednesday should be every day for we need to be reminded of what we are really made of.  In American society and in support of a capitalistic system, we are led to believe that we are more than the stuff under our feet, that if we climb the ladder or get to the top of the hill that we will not end up six feet under.  Certainly, we don’t want to be reminded that for all of our strivings, our labels, our titles, we are dust.  Yes, for all our gains, we end up right where we started.

Everyday, we need to hear that we should not stay put; instead, we were meant to be scattered because we are dust.  We should be easily moved by the Spirit because we are dust.  How are we so weighted down when we are dust?  How great is our God who values us beyond measure while knowing what we are made of, that we are dust?

It’s easy to forget.  Hard for us to see when our ego gets in the way.  But, we are dust.

“Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”